Riverdale’s 39th Annual Western Roundup

The Tommy Bilyeu Family in Concert

My daughter and I moved from Woodbury, Minnesota to Nixa, Missouri on the first day of July 2015. Nixa, a small town located just about six miles south of Springfield in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains has excellent schools and was the perfect move for the two of us.

Yesterday while on the way to her karate class Stephie tells me, “Dad, I just love my life here!”

Words that every parent yearns to hear, I think.

Since mid August we have been attending Riverdale Baptist Church at the invitation of our good friend, Carroll G. She told us that there are many fine churches in the area and told us the location of at least three.  The truth is, Stephanie loves Riverdale and wants to remain with their Sunday school and Wednesday evening groups; I enjoy the great Bible sermons, and I – well I have never felt closer to God than while sitting in one of their church pews.

Today Stephanie and I along with hundreds of others enjoyed a special treat, a concert by the talented Bilyeu family. The entire Bilyeu family had been blessed with awesome voices from Mama Bilyeu down to Tonya Bileu’s five-year old grandson and the many family members in between.

Riverdale's 39th Annual Western Roundup...people even arrive by horseback! The concert and feast that follows is so good!
Riverdale’s 39th Annual Western Roundup…people even arrive by horseback! The concert and feast that follows is so good!

Jamie Bilyeu Is the pastor of the church just as his late father Tommy was pastor before him. Tommy began the Western Roundup from a church in Springfield.  Jamie provides a solid, lower-tone euphony along with Mama and sisters.  He is also a blessed member of The Bilyeu Trio along with sister’s Tonya and Tammy.

Tammy Bilyeu is Stephanie’s Sunday school and Wednesday evening youth leader whom Stephanie adores.  Tammy is also a member of the Bilyeu Trio who incidentally hosted the event this year.  The harmony and balance of all family members are so strong that, I swear on a stack of Bibles, the angels of Heaven heard the glorious sounds.

Tonya’s singing of God’s Mountain (I can’t remember the exact title) but her singing of that song brought tears to my eyes when she sang of God being there even while we are in the valleys.  She is also a third of the family trio.

The band gave a superb performance, from the piano player to the violin player’s, Mandolin-playing son.

A man who has attended Riverdale all his life and is a relation of the Bilyeu family and is the comedian of the group and has a wonderful voice in his own right, sang a song called, “Oh Buddha” and following are the first verse and chorus …

Well, Old Buddha was a man and I’m sure that he meant well

But I pray for his disciples lest they wind up in hell

And I’m sure that old Mohammed thought he knew the way

But it won’t be Hare Krishna we stand before on The Judgment Day.

No, it won’t be old Buddha that’s sitting on the throne

And it won’t be old Mohammed that’s calling us home

And it won’t be Hare Krishna that plays that trumpet tune

And we’re going to see The Son not Reverend Moon!

All I can say is – What a grand performance and wonderful start to the week, bravo!               

The Tommy Bilyeu Family
The Tommy Bilyeu Family

Steve Richie

Hi folks, Two lives in one lifetime. The first me, lived to age thirty-four. That Steve was overly confident and oozing with pride. Then, on a record heat-setting day (107º) here in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, a one car near-fatal wreck left me in a two-month long coma. I emerged much as I was before minus certain physical capabilities, but my mind seemed mostly in tact. The crash and its effects did not change me (I emerged a happy individual) but the deeds perpetrated against me in the ensuing months from my wife of sixteen years scared and humbled me as I was dragged down with nothing left by my wife who now had guardianship over all of our accounts. And neither would she allow me to see our kids. She took everything out of, "Our" names and changed them to her name only; then would not allow me to our home and divorced me. I was angry, but no more. I spent half of 1988 and more than half of 1989 in hospitals, nursing homes and a three month stint at a head-injury rehab center where I was being taught how to re-enter society as this different person, that I didn't know. I was not able to return to my previous line of work, a self-employed decorator, you know, painting and paperhanging. It was a physical job which required much dexterity, finesse, and a good grasp of numbers. I returned to the beginning, school, but on a community college level. One of the instructor's liked my writing and I began focusing my attention on that. I attended classes at, "The Loft," A Place for Writers in Minneapolis. While there, a classmate of mine was having her friend from New York, a CBS executive, to her home for the holidays and asked me if she could do a critique on a couple chapters of a book I was writing, "A Day I'll Never Remember" and I obliged. When she returned to class the following Monday she told me that the exec wanted a ten-page synopsis of the book for a possible movie; I was excited. After obliging for that also, I never saw or heard from her or the guy from CBS. Next thing I knew I was watching a movie called, "Regarding Henry" starring Harrison Ford and the scenes of therapy were exactly like what I went through and had written about. Regarding Henry - could've been my story except that, "Henry" got his head injury from a gunshot and his wife stayed with him throughout the ordeal. Coincidence I'm sure, though, the therapy scenes entailed what I described in the book so I always wondered..... My hope, my dream is to bolster our income for my daughter and for myself. I am and have been raising this beautiful, talented little girl who was diagnosed with autism at age two, since 2006 singlehandedly. I divorced her mother the same year following complaints that I spent too much time with our daughter. However, Stephanie began school with no need for special education. She has been reading since age four and understanding what she'd read. Stephanie maintains straight "A's" on her report card, has published two books (through school) and has been selected as an, "Honors" student for seventh grade English. My ex moved to New York to be closer to her sister and has been remarried now for a number of years. Well, that's only a snippet of my sixty-one years and I would like to thank you for reading, thank you.


  • Steve I don’t think anyone could of done a better job of putting this in heartfelt words as you did Great job we appreciate you and are glad to have you worshiping with us at RIVERDALE


    • The words were well intentioned and sincere. Just being lucky enough to be at a church that conjures up such strong familial feelings from the past is nearly divine intervention, to me, and a true blessing.


  • What a nice and interesting write up about the Riverdale Roundup! Thank you for sharing your thoughts with all of us. Very nice!


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