The Long Road to Branson

Thursday morning found us leaving Nicholasville, KY and heading towards Branson, MO, with a stop scheduled in St. Louis, MO.  The drive was fine and we barely hit any rain.  Sprinkles, more like it.  We had an easy check in at River City Casino and Hotel.  The room was nice, but we were hungry!  So, we headed down to find food.  Mom had seen a sign for a restaurant called Asian Noodles, but they were closed until dinner time.  Okay, across the casino is a buffet.  Also closed until dinner.  Not to be discouraged, we walked back through the casino to one of the restaurants by the check in desk.  Mom got a steak taco salad and I got fish and chips and there was enough for leftovers.  Back up to the room for a quick drop off of food and then we headed down to the casino for a little fun.  We didn’t lose our shirts, so we were able to get breakfast the next morning and head out without any major worries.  Mom even got a new shirt and a pair of turquoise sunglasses she had been jonesing for.

The drive to Branson also had very few drops of rain.  Woohoo!  I call that a win.  We got into our hotel and while it didn’t exactly match what was on Hotels.com, it was clean and close to a lot of the big sites in Branson.  We went next door to the distillery/cafe for lunch and we once again able to get enough to take back to the room for dinner.

This morning, we had booked Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede, a lunch/dinner show, where you choose whether you want to be in the North or the South (South, of course) for some fun ‘competitions’.  One thing I have to give them points for, besides the good time we had, was the fact that they ask about food allergies.  Since I suffer from one that isn’t very common (all things in the onion family), I took a Benedryl before we headed out and just prayed I wouldn’t have any major reactions.  But when the gentleman asked about allergies, I gave mine and he didn’t seem the least bit surprised by it.  He knew that I was only going to be able to eat the corn and the dessert if I stuck with the usual, so he ordered me a naked meal.  Basically, there was no seasoning used on anything and I got steamed veggies instead of soup.  I got a full meal!  Another Woohoo!

Now, on to the show.  You start by heading through the gift shop into the preshow area, where you can get a drink, in a souvenir boot or hurricane glass, and perhaps some popcorn or nachos before the main show.  There’s plenty of seating down below, but there’s also a balcony area you can sit in to watch the preshow entertainment, three brothers who go by The Wranglers.

 

They were talented musicians as well as having good comedic timing.  The music was mostly bluegrass, though they took some popular rock tunes and gave them a bluegrass feel.  You haven’t heard AC/DC until you’ve heard it played on banjo.

Finally, the dinner bell rings and as a herd, everyone files into the stadium to find their seats for the show.  We had opted for the preferred seats in the South and found ourselves right up front.  The ‘dirt’ they use doesn’t kick up any dust, so if you have dust/dirt allergies, you’ll be fine.  Even the dry ice effects were set up to be safe for everyone.  Definitely a place that knows how to work with people with issues.

Once we were seated, our server, Cody, got our drink orders and made note of my naked meal requirement.  He was quick and personable and by the time the drinks were poured, the show started.  They use a mix of riders, of different races and genders, which was nice to see.

 

You’re introduced to the riders for each side and they do some synchronized riding, followed by the tale of how the West was before the white settlers rolled in.  The buffalo are neat and the black light show is something to see (though not easy to catch without flash, which is forbidden).

 

Next, the cowboys and ladies came through, roping and riding.  That one longhorn was giving me the stink-eye.  Maybe because I called him Porterhouse.  This was followed by some interesting trick riding.

 

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Then there was a salute to the South, with ladies in electrified hoop skirts twirling in a gazebo while a southern gentleman came a callin’.

 

There were some comedic breaks, with members of the audience getting involved, as well as a canine agility course, using rescue dogs from all over the country.  The one they featured today was a rescue from our own home port, Tampa!

Following this, some of the ladies did some barrel racing and then they brought out the lumberjacks.  Okay, I don’t understand what that has to do with Dixie, but that’s just me.

 

The food was good, the entertainment was great and we had a wonderful time.  Though, you could tell some of the entertainers were a little bored, like this guy here.

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All in all, definitely worth it.  We had a great time and would recommend the Dixie Stampede to anyone coming to Branson.

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