Legends and Legacy Award for lifetime achievements

Ron Waddell is a familiar name to local area country music fans as a long time on air personality at GX94 Radio.

Waddell’s more than three decades on air, most of it here in Yorkton earned him one of two Legends and Legacy Awards presented by the Saskatchewan Country Music Association awards Sunday.

The second Legends and Legacy Award went to Tex Emery, who was originally born in Stockholm, SK., and has nearly 70-years in the music industry.

Waddell said the award came as a complete surprise.

“This is fantastic,” he said, adding he was not aware he was even considered for the award. “They told me I was going to present an award, but this is a whole lot better.”

“Most of my great years on radio were spent right here on GX,” he said.

Emery took the stage to accept the award with mirth.

“It took me 67-years to get this. Is it worth it,” he quipped, after first hugging the young lady who had brought the award trophy on stage.

“This is an honour,” he added turning a bit more serious, but that lasted only a moment, before adding “… If somebody’s got to win this, it might as well be me.”

Emery’s career encompassed stints on the ‘Red River Jamboree’, playing for the Queen at the 1949 Calgary Stampede, and spot on TV’s ‘Hee Haw’.

But Emery concluded with a thank you to the fans of country music.

“It’s people like you out there who make people like me,” he said.

Waddell, was born in Winnipeg, and was originally a rocker. Out of high school he was in a band which toured with Bobby Curtola.

“When I turned 18 we hit the road with him,” said Waddell, who himself was a vocalist in support of Curtola.

“Bobby sold a lot of records over the years.”

After three, or four years on the road, Waddell went looking for a real job, landing one on radio in Dauphin.

While never having DJ’ed, Waddell said he wrangled a live audition, got the job, and his course was set.

Soon he would be fired in Dauphin, and end up in Yorkton, and found himself doing country on an afternoon show.

“I’d never had a country song on my turntable,” said Waddell, adding he quickly came to love the music, and the performers. “The people are so much nicer. Country singers are a lot more real.

“I think that’s what kept me going.”

Through the years Waddell did more than sitting in a radio station sound booth, taking in major events such as Dauphin CountryFest, and leading bus tours to Branson.

Through it all he met most of the big names in country through the years, Stompin’ Tom Connors, Allan Jackson, Brenda Lee (who he admitted he once had a crush on), Waylon Jennings, Vince Gill, Keith Urban, Tommy Hunter and literally dozens more.

“Probably the best was Johnny Cash. He’s the ultimate in country music,” said Waddell.

In 2008 Waddell walked away from radio, and while admitting there are times, like around Country Fest time he misses it, he is happily retired.

To be recognized with a career award seven years later does feel good though, said Waddell.

“I was just flabbergasted,” he said, adding having the award presented in Yorkton where friends and family were on hand just added to the thrill.

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