Roy once traveled to Weiser, Idaho for the National Fiddling Contest in the early '70s. Contestants drew numbers and performed for judges who were secluded in a room behind the stage. The judges are not able to view the contestants as they perform and this prevents the judges from being influenced by showmanship, attire, etc. Contestants are graded on talent and musical ability. Roy entered the contest for personal reasons; he had the notion that audiences were looking at his fingers, or lack thereof, instead of his talent and musical ability. There were 199 entries. Only the top 25 fiddlers received awards and price money. Roy placed 33rd. Not bad for a small town fingerless TEXAS boy.
Roy performed on the stage of the Grand Old Opry numerous times as a guest of the late Roy Acuff, the "King of Country Music," Charlie Walker and the Ralph Emory Show.
Roy also performed on the Grand Old Opry for Ralph Sloan and the Tennessee Travelers and later for Melvin Sloan and the Melvin Sloan Dancers (Square Dancers).
Roy had the honor of performing on the Box Car Willie show in Branson, Missouri and was featured on the television show, "That's Incredible," during the '80s.
Roy judged at the Grand Masters Fiddling Contest in Nashville for 17 years. To that Roy stated, "I have had the privilege of watching aspiring young musicians, such as Mark O'Conner, make their mark on the music industry."
While performing as a special entertainer at the Grand Masters Fiddling Contest, a film crew from England recorded Roy's performance and was later aired on British Network Television.
As mentioned earlier, the blast from a dynamite cap destroyed the fingers on his left hand and the sight in his left eye. Roy never allowed this tragedy to defeat him.
Roy states, "I have an inner drive that gives me the challenge to be the best that I can be. There have been several times in my life when I felt I could not continue with my music, but that inner drive always kicked in and I realized that my love for music will always be with me."
Roy learned to play the piano, mandolin, the lap steel guitar and the dobro. At the age of 25 he decided he could play the fiddle.
As a result of his childhood injuries, Roy is unable to hold and chord any stringed instrument in the usual fashion.
With the help of family and a few good friends, Roy designed a device he calls the "Gut Strap" which serves to help support the fiddler as he plays. AMAZING comes to mind when you SEE and HEAR his performances.
Roy equipped with a quick wit, grace and charm to supplement his musical abilities, is a musician's musician, yet he is reluctant to indulge in self-promotion.
After his childhood injuries, Roy told his family, "Someday I will play on the Grand Old Opry." Roy is one of the lucky individuals whose childhood dream comes true.
Always modest, Roy says about himself, "I'm a fair musician, but I am an entertainer at heart. I had to work twice as hard to be half as good as other musicians."
Although if you poll other observers, you will find that Roy Thackerson is a remarkable person who brings sunshine to the lives of those he encounters and always leaves audiences with a fond, lasting impression.
D.J. Driskill, Mgr.