Love Valley Comedy

Written by Ellen Gurley

Love Valley Silver Spur Saloon & Restaurant - Spring Comedy 
Review by : Ellen Gurley
Comedy Night Sun., March 31st 2013  

l valley review picI was recently invited to go watch a comedy show with some friends. I obliged to take the drive. Before I went to this city, I put it’s name in a search engine. (What? It’s what ‘we’ do.) I found this description at the top of the page, from a website I have to divulge, reluctantly, due to using the complete post. But I did not condone the reviews that were present there, they were unsavory. But I did like the intro.

“Love Valley is a unique combination of Christian community and cowboy place for having rest. Andy Barker is a founder of this place. Creating Love Valley he wanted to make real his boys dream about having horse rancho. Today it is an entertainment center for people who want to spend a good time. Visiting Love Valley you'll find saloon, general store, hitching posts, Country Store, campgrounds, The Hitchin Rail "Rooms for rent", Andy's Hardware, and rodeos. Love Valley is a popular place among horse-lovers and horseback riding. Love Valley Rock Festival is one of the most popular events that take place in Andy Barker's utopia.” ( )

I enjoyed the above blurb. Thought it sounded nice. I was raised by a man half-cowboy and half-Indian who loves westerns (took me to see Wyatt Earp the day it came out). Western movies and country music. These are the two things that bring my daddy so much joy. But I didn’t run my ‘vacation’ ‘by’ my dad, as I am a grown woman and do what I please with my travels. Still haven’t told him, but I should definitely take him to “main street” there. It was ‘something’.

Upon crossing into the town, I was ‘taken a back’ at how much of a time warp I was entering. This town is 2.5 miles one way. This is truly an authentic western town, situated in the foothills of the Brushy Mountains north of Statesville, NC and has thousands of acres of land where everyone appeared to be riding horseback. There were trailer park ‘conglomerates’ all over the valley, with spaces in between. It was surreal and all local; no tourists here. This ‘town’ was founded by an Andy and Eleanor Barker and is said to be self-governed. I didn’t know what that meant and didn’t want to ask.

So, we make our way to Henry Martin Trail. This was a genuine ’cowboy’ stretch of road, where the club was right in the middle. It looked like something out of Wyatt Earp or Tweetsie Railroad (minus the tourists). Some buildings were dilapidated and falling down. Other were in ill-repair. It was beautiful. The looks we got (city folk) as we fell out of our cars and headed into the venue, were priceless.

I was in the company of Jenny Chalikian, Bill “the Thrill” Cleveland, Tom Stover (the Southern Madman), and Ryan Van Gendersen & Blayr Nias (the Bipolar Express). The event was hosted by Mimi J. Benfield.

The show went well. Mimi was a hoot.  The Bipolar Express (Ryan and Blayr) were very engaging.  Jenny talked lesbian irony and Bill talked travels.  Tom Stover killed it (his act is mostly about rednecks, fried chicken and the love of all things southern) (none of which was an act, he is the real deal). There were smiles everywhere. Would I return to Love Valley? The answer is ‘hell yes’. We had some homemade brandy and moonshine in the parking lot with some locals and were all invited back.

We thought our adventure was complete. But, no. On the way back, we took a wrong turn as not one not two not three but over five deer crossed our paths, chasing rabbits across the road. It was weird. And we accidentally killed one (rabbit). Which was very helpful, as once we turned around, it acted as a landmark to get back in the right direction.

Most of us in the car had either dead phone batteries or no reception at all and we were beginning to think we would be in the next “Blair Witch’. The night ended with a random call to Bushwick Bill (of the Ghetto Boys) and a viewing of the (not recommended) “Shake that Bear” you tube video (on the last person in the car‘s charged phone battery, Philip Shive, photographer and friend). Never a dull moment with Bill and Tom. And I would do it again, in a heartbeat.

Might I add there is a hotel there, on ‘main street’ called “Miss Kitty’s”, which I hope to bed in one day in my life (bucket list). I met retired veterans, nature lovers, entrepreneurs and straight up locals. And I now have a newfound guilty pleasure for polyester, vintage suits and Dapper Dan (thanks a lot, Tom Stover). Oh, and I want a boudoir photo shoot done in Love Valley, NC, bad!

Charlotte, these are your local comedians.   They're very funny.  If you see their names on an event listing in your area - GO!  You'll be glad you did. They're funny and it's all real; they lead very exciting, never dull lives.  You can check out Tom Stover at, Blayr on her twitter (voted best in Charlotte Magazine's 2013 BOB Awards) @GummyBlayr and Bill at Crown Station every Tuesday night for karaoke.


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