Wow, what a wonderful 2010 Texas Country Music Hall of Fame Induction weekend. I know that my Dad, Ray Winkler, would be so thrilled and honored by being inducted with George Jones and Al Dexter…two great country music legends.

The weekend began by being interviewed by DJ Tom Perryman on The Ranch 104.1 in Tyler. August 20, 2010 was Jim Reeves 87th birthday and Tom dedicated his entire show to Jim Reeves. I spoke about my Dad’s close friendship with Jim Reeves and about Jim recording “Welcome To My World.” Tom also interviewed our guest, Steve Morewood, from England about his great knowledge of Jim Reeves’ recordings.

Friday night was the John Ritter Tribute Showcase talent contest with 30 great contestants and performances by 2007 Showcase Winner Shane Mathews and 2009 Showcase Winner Kimberly Green. The show was emceed by former Miss Texas, Jonna Fitzgerald. The winner of the 2010 Showcase was Lindsey Harding who sang “I Told You So.” Congratulations Lindsey!

Saturday, August 21, 2010,  was an exciting day in anticipation of the induction show that evening. Our family & friends began arriving for the big event. There was a lot of festivity at the Tex Ritter Museum & Gift shop with people touring the displays in the museum, book signings and “Dusty Boots” band playing for the Colgate Country Showdown talent contest.

The Saturday night induction show began with Ray Winkler’s induction and by hearing the original demo of “Welcome To My World” that was recorded by Dean Kelley and backed by the Blue Boys at KZIP Radio Station in Amarillo, TX. This was the demo that Jim Reeves took with him to consider recording. Presenter Dean Kelley spoke about working at the radio station with Ray Winkler. Then the presentation video was shown about Ray’s life in music. Dean presented my Dad’s induction and my husband David and I were given the plaque for my Dad. What a thrilling moment!

Tracy Pitcox introduced the Justin Trevino Band and Heart of Texas artist’s Georgette Jones, Darrell McCall, Mona McCall, Curtis Potter, Tony Booth, Amber Digby and Frankie Miller who performed. They also performed three of Al Dexter’s hits. Tom Perryman presented the induction of Al Dexter and Al’s sister graciously spoke and accepted the plaque.

Next was the performance of George Jones & The Jones Boys. What a thrill to see this great country legend in person! Ralph Emery made the presentation for George’s induction and Tommie Ritter Smith presented George with the plaque.

Last but definitely not least was Mel Tillis & The Statesiders. What a great singer and entertainer! Mel and his band put on a great show!


Our thanks to the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame, the Panola County Chamber of Commerce and all friends of Carthage for their support!

Pictures: courtesy by Bette Winkler-Hodges




Thank you Dean. It is such a thrill to have you present this award for my Dad.

My husband David & I sure hope you have enjoyed the story of my Dad’s life in music.

Since Tommie Ritter Smith first told me about my Dad’s induction this year, it has been a great journey for me to put together my Dad’s life for you…going through pictures and mementos…I know I have cried a million tears…but it has truly been a labor of love.

While I don’t have his talent for songwriting, I do have his passion and appreciation of country music and I’m so grateful to carry on his legacy.

David & I are so thankful for the support of so many family members and friends in this very special honor for my Dad and are so glad to have many of them with us tonight.

On behalf of my Mom and Dad, I want to thank the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame for honoring my Dad with this induction. I remember that he was so thrilled about the museum and the tribute it would pay to an industry he so dearly loved.

I would also like to congratulate the 2010 Inductees…to the family of Al Dexter and to George Jones. I know my Dad would be thrilled by being inducted with these great country music legends.

It has been said, that my Dad’s only regret in life…was not hiring that female short stop.

Thank you so much.”


Bette Winkler Hodges

Neillrae Music


Thank you very much. I am Dean Kelley from Amarillo and I can assure you that you have never heard that rendition of “Welcome To My World” as that was the de song of the year, it affects so many lives, such as the lives of Ray Winkler and Johnny Hathcock, the composers, Jim Reeves the artist, the DJs, the families and those that listened, millions of times, over the years!

We are not here to induct that song in the Hall of Fame but to Ray & Johnny it had by far the greatest impact, musically speaking, of anything in their lives! It is a great song and I believe this because it reached across all musical boundries. Every aspect of the recording industry when you think of the warm gentle style of Jim Reeves, plus Elvis, Dean Martin, Eddy Arnold and more as you will see on the video that follows.

Now, for a moment, let me take you back to that day in Amarillo when I was on the air, doing my thing, when I could see coming thru the front door Mr. Jim Reeves, he sorta nodded to everyone and preceded into Rays office where they visited for a while. Then Ray came thru the broadcast area door and said “Put on an album and come in here I want you to sing that song for Jim Reeves!”

Holy Cow I thought, so I followed Ray in his office and Ray said: “Sing Young Man” So I thought in my mind to try to sing the song as close to Jim Reeves as I could. After I was thru, Jim commented, “I like it!’ but I can’t remember that, hold on a minute, he stepped outside and brought in his band the Blue Boys. We all gathered in the little recording studio, went over a few lines of the song and in no time the band was ready. Ray put on one of those old acetate records, before you know it, it was done. Ray slipped the record in a shuck. Gave it to Jim and the rest is history.

It is a great honor for me to be here. I will be eternally grateful to Bette, the daughter of Ray and Libby Winkler for giving me this privilege to induct Ray Winkler into the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame. Ray, who gave me my very first job as a DJ, was far more than a boss to me. He was a father figure, he advised me and helped me in so many ways. We eventually wrote a number of songs together, he supplied the words and I found a tune. .We sometimes weren’t on the same page not even the same track but we had fun! One day Ray received a call from Tillman Franks, the manager of Johnny Horton, he said: “Ray we need a song”, so that night we worked at his home till the wee hours of the morning until we finished “O Leary’s Cow” about the Chicago Fire. Others we thought, pretty good and there were some. I really questioned how he came up with such words ”The Monkeys Wedding” (sing one verse). Ray & I could never imagine how such a great melody and story line could go unnoticed. Isn’t that crazy. But we had some great times together and because of Ray I had the pleasure of being at his home and having dinner with Ray & Libby and the likes of Jim Reeves, Jimmy Wakely and other great country stars. Now to give you more indepth of Ray Winkler, lets watch this video”.

The Texas Country Music Hall Of Fame website has  a slides show of the event on their website.

Please  click here to  go to the slide show