Originally from the Great Smokey Mountains near Gastonia North Carolina, Bobby Hodge started developing his talent at an early age. His Uncle Jack showed him some chords on the guitar and Bobby taught himself the rest of the way. As a teenager, Bobby moved to Madison Wisconsin where he started developing a career in the Country Music buisness. He did everything he could to be involved with it. He became a radio DJ on WKOW in Madison that later turned into his own radio show featuring his own music. WKOW eventually went from a radio station to a television station. Bobby was then given his own weekly tv show. This is when his popularity sky rocked. During this time, Bobby was recording in Nashville and appearing on other radio & tv shows. Also, it was during this time that Bobby met and married his wife, Mary.
Bobby and Mary bought their first bar, (Frontier Bar), Where Bobby played himself and featured major acts such as Ernest Tubb & his band. While recording and touring, Bobby became friends with Steel Guitarist, Shot Jackson. (Shot was one of the founders of "SHO-BUD" steel guitars along with Buddy Emmons). Shot was also the steel player for Roy Acuff. It was Shot that brought Bobby to Roy Acuff's attention. Mr Acuff was so impressed with Bobby's talent that he instructed Ott Devine, (The Opry's manager at the time), to put Bobby on the Grand Ole Opry. Bobby was one of the few artists that was able to perform on the Opry without a major hit record. He debuted the same night as Loretta Lynn. Bobby appeared on the Opry as a featured singer from 1961 to 1963. He continued recording under various labels, Some becoming #1 regional hits and also reaching national charts. (It is quite difficult to achieve hit records while recording for independant labels with little or no distribution.) Bobby toured the United States with other Opry stars. His fine voice and comedy routines were very well recieved wherever he went.
After years of touring, recording, radio, and television shows, Bobby was beginning to feel the pressures between road life and raising a family. At a point where most artists would have chose to keep furthering their career, Bobby decided to step back from his hectic schedule and devote more time to his family. Bobby ran for Dane County Sheriff in Madison. After a long, tough campaign, Bobby lost the election by just a few thousand votes. It was a close race.
In 1972, Bobby and his family vacationed in Tampa Florida. It was December and the roses were in full bloom. After spending so many years in freezing winters in Madison, Bobby decided to move to Tampa. He recorded his last record in Nashville, which gave him an induction into the "Florida Country Music Hall of Fame" as well as "Single of the Year".
Bobby continued performing mostly at night clubs that he owned and operated. Namely, The Maverick Lounge in Oldsmar, Later, The Longhorn Saloon in Tampa, as well as other country music shows. He even headed up his own daily 2 hour radio show on a 50,000 watt station out of Largo Fla. (WRFA).
When Bobby and his family first came to Florida in 1972 and bought the Maverick Lounge in Oldsmar, That lounge was located close to an area race horse track, (Florida Downs), now "Tampa Bay Downs". Alot of the track workers came into the lounge. Bobby and Mary spent alot of time discussing the horse racing buisness with the folks from the track. Bobby decided to purchase his first race horse. The horse did well for them and they fell in love with the buisness. Mary became a horse trainer and they eventually sold the lounge and devoted all their time to horse racing. Mary became leading trainer in 1985 and 2nd leading trainer in 1986.
Today Bobby and Mary are retired from horse racing. They have 4 boys, (Bob Jr., Ron, Richie, and Rodney). 2 of his sons are also musicians, Bob Jr plays drums and Richie plays bass guitar. Bobby and Mary have a small ranch in Land 'O' Lakes Florida, (Just north of Tampa).
12/3/2011 Bobby passed away from complications of congestive heart failure.