Meet the Stagecoach Journey Crew

Cowboy Rick Hamby

So many nights as a little boy, I would lie in my bed dreaming of Daniel Boone and his coon-skin cap, the Alamo and ole Davy Crockett and Johnny Appleseed with a tin pot on his head.

I would dream of riding with the legendary Sioux leader Sitting Bull, or of the Texas longhorns & the cowboys — and I would always dream of riding on a magnificent old stagecoach as it kicked up dust heading westward.

These are the names, images and deeds that helped to build our nation of the United States of America – and create a dream in a starry-eyed little boy’s mind.

My name is Cowboy Rick, and I was that starry-eyed little boy. I never met Daniel, Davy, or Sitting Bull, but I did meet one of my real-life heroes when I was only 5 years old, and my hero was nearing 80. She was eight feet tall with four beautiful yellow wheels and a bright red carriage nestled in leather straps. She had already traveled from the east coast to the places of my dreams … the Great American West.

"Arkansas" Bev Hamby

I was born in Wisconsin and said to have been born full of wanderlust, a true tomboy – and, yes, my life has proved that to be true.

Growing up on the banks of the Rock River, I would lie in my bed at night and listen to the rushing river as it passed by. I wondered where it came from and where it was going. I was happiest when I had mud squishing between my toes and was skipping stones across the river – pretending to be all kinds of wonderful places.

I read the adventures of Tom Sawyer & Huck Finn and dreamed of riding a raft and letting that river take me places I had never been. I watched episodes of Daniel Boone & Davy Crockett. I just knew that my life was going to be an adventure, and those who knew me best knew that about me, too.

When I was old enough, I set off with a friend on our bicycles, heading for parts unknown, and wound up a month later in the Ozark hills of Arkansas. It became my new home. It was in the Ozarks that I met Cowboy Rick Hamby. We fell in love and got married. On this journey, we are making another chapter of history.

Like the pioneers of old, I learned that by seeking out your dreams, there can be great adventure around many a corner … just waiting to unfold.

Rod "Maverick" Hamby

Pleased to meet you, I’m Rod “Maverick” Hamby and I’m Cowboy Rick’s older brother. Folks say the boys in our family have been best friends for as far back as anyone can remember. We spent most of our childhoods helping our parents operate a dairy farm in Howell County, Missouri.

When I wasn’t busy with school and daily chores, I’d spend a great deal of time riding horses, honing my hunting and trapping skills, and being with my brothers. In my grown-up life, I’ve been in real estate sales and now property development. I’ve seen a lot of this beautiful country. While I like what I do, my favorite way to travel is on my horse, Mildew. I bought Mildew from a rancher friend in Boise City, Oklahoma. I’m still not sure how he got his name, but he seems to like it okay.

This marks my 7th stagecoach journey with my brother. I like meeting all the people and the pace of the journey; however, if I’m in a hurry, I fire up my 1970 Plymouth Barracuda! Mildew doesn’t seem to mind that too much…

"Pawnee Bill" Hobbs

For the “love of the game” best describes why I am participating in my 5th stagecoach journey – The Last Stage to Matador. I guess you could say I’m a real grateful fellow for loving the whole package: the adventure, making memories, meeting new and exciting people, living real-life nostalgia and bringing happy experiences to those we encounter.

See? Must be for love of the game! Why else would someone sit on a 2000-pound unsecured wooden box that sits ten feet in the air, pulled by four powerful horses, at 4 miles per hour for thousands of miles over old rugged trails with only a wooden block as a brake – and then, to top it off, sleep right with the horses?

As a young child, I’d listen to my dad tell of his days as a cowpoke driving cattle from Arkansas into Missouri, and of driving horse-drawn freight wagons. He was a real cowboy. And even though these old trails were abandoned years ago for asphalt and super highways, they still tell interesting stories.

Finding a driver for the stagecoach journeys was a challenge for my cousin, Rick Hamby, and when he asked if I would do it, I jumped at the opportunity. After all, who gets a chance to drive an authentic stagecoach over historic trails? I do and I love every minute of it!

Dennis "Wichita" Crider

Early on, I wanted to be a cowboy. Despite being a city kid, I loved the cowboy way. As a youngster in Kansas, I spent a lot of time at the saddle store in downtown Wichita. I remember buying a cowboy hat one day, then walking the two-plus miles home sporting my new purchase. Boots came next. Bright red stove tops, dogger heels and pointed toes… these were my black-and-red beauties.

As I grew, my passion for photography was pushing aside my cap pistols and boyhood cowboy pursuits. My love for photography opened many doors throughout my life. I was a photographer in school and then became a photojournalist with the West Plains Daily Quill newspaper, where I served as a reporter, photographer and sports editor. That career lasted 39 years. Since retiring in 2008, I spend much of my time photographing nature, scenic landscapes and still-life subjects.

But now! Now my retirement is really getting interesting. My main goal on this journey is to come home with great photographs of wranglers, horses pulling the stage, the terrain, wildlife, nightly campfires and smiling faces of youngsters!
I get to be a cowboy… finally!

"Mountain Man" Tom French

They call me Mountain Man. I moved to the hills of Missouri when I was real young. Growing up, I idealized characters in shows like The Lone Ranger, Roy Rogers, Gunsmoke, and Bonanza. I wanted to be like them, and for hours and hours, I’d explore the countryside on the back of one of my ponies.

I lived six miles apart from Cowboy Rick and Rod ‘Maverick’ through all of our school years. We were best friends, sharing all of our childhood adventures such as hauling hay, horseback riding, and hunting. I was fearless when it came to horses — from trick riding to mounted shooting, I tried it all.

Over the years, I’ve been an iron worker, building sky-high skyscrapers. And now, I run the family business in West Plains, Missouri.

In my free time, I ride horseback in the country, hunt, and float the river. One of my favorite things to do is go elk hunting in Colorado.

I never meet a stranger. If you’re reading this, I hope you’re a new friend of The Journey crew.

David "Colorado" Skinner

I was born in Colorado into a horse family in the year of ‘66. I was in the saddle before I was even born, and then shortly after. My love for the outdoors and horses led to many Colorado backcountry adventures, whether it was with a pack on a horse’s back or a pack on mine.

Hunting adventures started young. I remember, during an elk hunt in the Rockies, my father’s footprints in the snow were a long stretch for me to step into as I followed him throughout the mountains in pursuit of game. Trapping came early too, and soon I found an even greater respect for the mountain men of yesteryear.

Later I moved to a different kind of mountain, here in the Ozarks. Cowboy Rick and Arkansas Bev are my neighbors, and a chance meeting on a red dirt road led to a conversation with Rick, “Hey, we are thinking about one more journey,” he said. Fast as lightning, in my mind I thought, can I go? Rick went on, “Would you be interested in being part of the crew?”

I barely waited ‘til the end of the question before I answered “Yes!”

"Sundance" Scott Lees

I’m the cowboy who helps load passengers in and out of the coach – plus anything else that I’m asked to do!
I was born in 1953 and grew up on the Rock River in Wisconsin, playing in the great outdoors with my sister, Arkansas Bev. I enjoyed being around our family’s farms, spending many an afternoon by the animals and in the wide-open farm fields. I still live the farm life in Wisconsin. As for work, I’ve been mainly in sales and marketing, but it’s the out-of-doors I love – doing things like kayaking, mountain biking, hiking and camping.

My first trip as a crew member was from Wilson Creek Battlefield in Springfield, Missouri, to Pea Ridge Battlefield in Pea Ridge, Arkansas. This was a highlight of my life. I expect The Last Stage To Matador will be, too!

Michael "Coop" Meyer

I’m Michael “Coop” Meyer – born in 1959 in Cooper County of central Missouri. My little railroad & river town was Otterville, on the banks of Otter Creek. At an early age I dreamed of adventures like Huck Finn, of floating in a homemade boat down the Missouri River and onto the Mighty Mississippi. What a sense of adventure I had as a boy! The desire to explore kept growing, watching old westerns with my dad who taught me to hunt, fish, ride horses – and yes, tend to the livestock and a giant garden! I’d say that doing chores helped make me into who I am today, and I’m thankful.

The sound of a train whistle still takes me back to those childhood days, and for two decades, I worked on the Missouri Pacific Railroad – seeing even more of this beautiful country. Now I work at Silver Dollar City, and that’s where I met Cowboy Rick & Arkansas Bev. Why, we became friends right off and I signed on for this once-in-a- lifetime journey!

Laurie "Pistol Rose" Cook

Hi I’m Laurie Cook, also known as Pistol Rose. Although born on the East Coast, I came alive when as a child my family moved west. I was finally able to live the experiences my mom, a true daughter of the west, spoke of like hearing the coyotes howl on the prairie and the smell of the pines in the hills. My dad shared his fascination of history which I inherited, especially life as a frontiersman and the settlers who shaped our country west of the Mississippi. The cowboy life has held my heart and earned my respect through horses, nature, the topography of the land, integrity of the soul, and hard work of the people who make their life from the land.

I am so fortunate to be among kindred spirits who share this insatiable thirst for adventure and historical knowledge and look forward to the continuation of the journey and meeting those who share in the admiration of the pioneer spirit with children and adults alike.

Randy Harper

Bio Coming Soon

Ron Wells

Bio Coming Soon

Matt Franks

Bio Coming Soon

Dalton Munson

Bio Coming Soon

"Wrangler" Rick Lamar

In Loving Memory (December 20, 1956 – March 8, 2019)

I like to say that I’m born and raised a real cowboy, starting back with my Grandpa who rode out west to the Rocky Mountains to collect wild mustangs and break them for use in the United States Army. My dad was a cowboy, too, riding horses and working cattle.
These role models taught me early on the respect due to animals and to our fellow man – and that there was nothing quite like bonding with your own horse.

Coming from a family of true believers in keeping the old ways alive, I was taught that you should always be there for your neighbor, that a handshake seals a deal, and that a true friend is a dear friend. And now, the cowboy way is exactly what we are doing here on this journey: meeting new neighbors, riding with dear friends – and of course, giving thanks to our Lord above.