The Ozone Ramblers

July of 1982 we arrived back in Mexico City, driving our Winnebago pulling our 16 foot trailer packed full. We got to the Hotel Krystal in the world famous Zona Rosa where we would be again performing but then later that night the Winnebago broke down. It would stay broke down for this entire tour, every broken part being actually rebuilt and put back together. No RV dealers in Mexico City back in '82, I assure you. We carried spare everything we could but this was a major breakdown.

Also the first time we had been to Mexico without a Female vocalist so our Manager Manuel Hernandez had auditioned and hired an American girl living in Mexico City to be featured for 3 songs in each of our upcoming shows. In addition, Manuel had arranged to bring along a mechanical bull, which was the "craze" at the time in all of the Urban Cowboy nightclubs we had been performing in throughout the midwest, and the first of it's kind in Mexico City nitelife. They would ride the "bull" before and after our shows. It was quite an event to come see one of our shows and hear authentic American music and to ride that crazy mechanical bull.

Everything was fine, RCA was promoting us heavily holding press conferences and special featured events, when the Mexican economy collapsed, the peso "crashed" and our whole tour was abruptly cancelled as a result. We stayed and performed shows as long as we could having to wait for the Winnebago to finally be repaired, and then we headed it north, back across the Rio Grande to Texas, limping back into Iowa and to that good ol' Iowa HomeGrown.

Back in Ft. Madison we helped start Riverfest and played all we could around the Midwest. We performed at fairs, festivals, night clubs, bars and all the benefits we could. We worked very hard to enlarge our fan base with help from regional press like the Prarie Sun Independent music magazine.

One of the highlights of late 1982 for the Ozone Ramblers was meeting Iowa Songwriter Hall of Famer, Johnny McCollum who approached us about recording again in Nashville. In June of '83 we returned to Nashville to record 4 songs with Johnny and his cowriter Dan Mitchell, who wrote "If You Want To Play In Texas, You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band" for Alabama. These sessions were never released but Johnny McCollum has been a like a brother to the Ozone Ramblers and in 2000 we were honored to perform for his 70th birthday party.

By December 1983 the wear and tear of the road combined with not being able to make enough money playing in our region caused problems. We decided to give it a break and put the Ozone Ramblers "on the shelf" for a while, heading our separate ways. It would be almost 2 years before we would reform and start touring again.

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