Once upon a time...isn't that how all good stories start? This story is certainly a good one, with a happy not-over-yet still-going-strong ending. It began over twenty years ago, in Madison Wisconsin, with a weekend string band called Stone Soup and two members of that band who loved classic cowboy songs. As their duo spun off from Stone Soup in 1989, Karen Gogolick and Rick Roltgen named themselves "KG & The Ranger" and headed out along the trail performing together. That same year they formed another kind of duo: husband and wife. Their career was launched in a modest way with 3 shows that first year, and no thoughts (yet) of quitting their "day jobs". Now, 20 years later, they are full-time professionals performing over 100 shows per year, with 5 albums and numerous awards to their credit.They have been making a living as cowboy entertainers since 2000. Three-time winners of the Western Music Association's harmony yodeling contest, they also have received other awards for their harmony singing and showmanship.
Their love of classic cowboy music brought them together, but some good old "cowboy ingenuity" has led them down a few unexpected trails. There is another dimension to their western talents: The Ranger's alter ego "Shortcut Curly", an eight-foot-tall, stilt-walking, lariat-twirling cowpoke! This performance sideline began as a short routine to kick off their school programs and get the kids involved in the show. Pretty soon it took off with a life of it's own as they got invitations to appear in parades and county fairs. That in turn inspired The Ranger to construct a miniature covered wagon, pulled by a humorous giant armadillo (driven by KG, of course) to accompany the tall cowboy. Parades have included John Wayne’s 100th birthday celebration, in Winterset IA, the Annie Oakley Days parade in Greenville OH, and many others throughout Wisconsin.
Their musical career has had many rewards deeper than just a way to make a living. The spirit of the music and the "cowboy way"is a passion for them. Preserving these old western gems is as important as contributing fresh new songs to the genre. Bringing back memories for small audiences of nursing home residents, or introducing school children to this great music, is as important as filling a large theater with fans. The wholesome quality of this music acts as an antidote to many of today's problems. It has also brought them amazing opportunities to meet and share a stage with musical heroes, including Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. They have learned from the best, sharing shows with the Riders in the Sky, the Sons of the San Joaquin, Michael Martin Murphey and too many others to name.
They would like to extend sincerest
thanks to all the fans and friends who have made their
incredible journey possible!
See their current performing schedule: AlongThe Trail
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Karen Gogolick & RickRoltgen
2517 Waunona Way, MadisonWI 53713
All images areprotected by copyright ©1998 K. Gogolick