Rita Ballou: Rawhide and Velvet
If you know what a "Diesel Sniffer" or "Man Fan" is in the music world, there’s a good chance that you know who Rita Ballou is. If you are unaware of any of those you must go educate yourself now by checking out the Rawhide and Velvet Blog and reading Rita Ballou’s Diesel Sniffing for Dummies – Chapter one (and Chapter Two) and Beware of the Man Fan. If you don’t laugh out loud at these things, your funny bone is broken (or perhaps you are a Diesel Sniffer or Man Fan and it hits too close to home, in that case there are support groups to help).
Here’s an excerpt from Diesel Sniffers chapter one:
~ “Groupie schmoppies! We have always called these chicks Diesel Sniffers because at the end of a concert instead of getting their picture made with the band, buying a teeshirt, and going the hell home, they are always out by the bus sniffing around. (The unleaded sniffer is a country cousin to the diesel sniffer. They are the girls that are stalking the econline vans…but for the most part, they are the same.)
Instead of judging these little slutty ass cum dumpsters so harshly, I think I should do my best to use this blog to help them. (Was saying little slutty ass cum dumpster too judgemental?) Everyone has to have a goal and I think it should be my duty to assist them in reaching their goals. I am going to try and use my newly found powers for good and not evil. See, and you people thought that I was mean and rude! Rita is only here to help!”~
What did I tell you?! You’ll want to dig into her blog archives for hours once you get started, it’ll provide endless amounts of hysterical entertainment.
Here's part of what she says about Man Fans:
~"The Man Fan will suffer from a disease I like to call Douchebag Turrets Syndrome. Again, he can't help it, he's a Man Fan. This makes him very easy to spot especially at a Bleu Edmondson show because he will be the guy screaming "YOU'RE MY BOY BLEU" at least 14 times. He will laugh every time and it never occurs to him that maybe Bleu has heard that one before. He is also the guy that has to yell "CARNEY MAN" at Cody Canada, yell "EVERCLEAR" at Roger Creager, and yell "BITCH GIVE ME BACK MY RING" at Bart Crow. Please remember, Douchebag Turrets can be highly contagious and can also brainwash an entire venue into believing the artist's middle name is actually "Fucking". As soon as he starts to chant "KEVIN FUCKING FOWLER" it seems to spread throughout the bar like Ebola in an African village." ~
“Rita Ballou” is actually a musical moniker chosen by Crystal Campbell, the blogger sometimes known as the “Perez Hilton” of the Texas Country/Red Dirt scene. She didn’t even release her real name for many years, choosing to be anonymous until she landed on Texas radio as a host. Since she is more well-known by her alias, I’m just going to refer to her as that in this feature to make it easier.
Ballou is best known for her in-your-face, snarky and strong opinions, and a hilarious sense of humor on top of all of that. She’s also well known for her live tweeting of reality TV shows, which can be more entertaining than watching the shows themselves (I’m guessing, because I’ve never seen any of the shows she tweets about and my entire knowledge of them comes from reading her tweets about them). She’s been known to get into the occasional twitter war full of drama and nonsense, and on those days I pop some popcorn and sit back and enjoy the show. When Ballou is on the rampage, it’s sure to be an event.
I ran into her blogs somewhere in the neighborhood of 7 years ago when I fell into the red dirt scene, when some of my favorite musicians started reposting her blogs. Her blogs taught me what Panty Row was really all about, and was also how I found out that I am in fact a Gherm (Read: "If It Wasn't for Gherms"). Her blogs range through a variety of topics and people, and she's always telling it how it is, she just does so with plenty of colorful language and quick witted humor that makes you want to come back for more.
Ballou has earned quite a name for herself over the years with her blunt opinions and drama filled fights with various people in the music scene (or reality TV stars…). I was able to have a lengthy phone interview with the sassy gossip diva recently about how she fell into this whole thing and the adventures that she has had in the process. You’ll notice she is a great talker and that you don’t have to ask many questions to get lengthy replies, which as an interviewer is pure gold. I’m a big fan of hearing people’s stories in their own words and getting to know someone by the details that they feel are important enough to share. So I believe that letting Ballou tell her own story instead of trying to paraphrase it and boil it down does it much more justice.
It went something like this:
LittleOkieLand: How did you get into the music scene before you became Rita Ballou?
Ballou: My mom had always had the record player going while I was growing up. One Christmas she had bought me a tape player. She had made tapes of all the records she had. My favorite was Loretta Lynn greatest hits, Volume 2, The Pink Album. I was probably 7 or 8 years old. The Coal Miners Daughter had just come on HBO and I told my parents I wanted to be Loretta Lynn when I grow up. My mom had made me a little purple dress. I would use my hair brush and do the whole Loretta Lynn thing. Once I got a little older I wanted to be Dolly.
I remember my first concert. Me and my mom went to Alexandria Louisiana to see Alabama. It was 1984, I was 10 years old. It was “The Roll On” tour. Jamie Fricke opened up and I loved it. It was something we always did together.
It’s kind of a weird story. I actually got to tell this story to Jamie Fricke personally, which was kind of awesome. I didn’t actually understand the concept of a concert. I, for some reason, was not as excited about Alabama as I was Jamie Fricke. I had all the little 45’s and stuff. I thought we would be able to hang out just me and her and I just didn’t really understand the concept. So, I told all my friends at school that I was going to see Jamie Fricke. I went to school afterwards and I was kind of sad, I mean, I got a t-shirt and everything but I didn’t get to hang like I told everyone I was going to. It was 4th grade. Mrs. Manhan’s Class. So my mom, bless her heart, wrote me a letter from Jamie Fricke. It said, “I am so sorry I missed you. Thanks for being my fan!” It was written in my mom’s hand writing. It came through the mail and everything! I guess country music has always been something that reminds me of my mom. That was our special time together. She always had music playing.
The older I got, I went to college and stuff. It’s kind of a fun story. I’m not a writer and I don’t fancy myself as one. I just have a big mouth and I like to talk.
I graduated high school in 1992. Right in the middle of when national country was so big, like Garth. I went to school at Southwest Texas State and it was like fall 1993. I had to stay home for a year and work at H.E.B. I was walking through the quad and on the banner in yellow it said “Ace in the hole” band Monday nights at Nephews. It was a Texas Jam and it said Ace in the hole. I was like that is a George Straight band!
You had to be 21 to get in. I found some friends that were still wearing Rocky Mountains. This was the time of Nirvana when everyone was wearing flannel. All my friends had a fake ID, but hell, I didn’t have one. We tried to get into the bar. All my friends got in with no problem. The bouncer looks at me like “just get out of here”. I go walking back to my dorm feeling like a loser. I didn’t want to hang out, I just wanted to see the band! Finally, I tried one more time and the owner happened to be there. His name was Johnny Finch. He cussed at me “Why are you trying to get in my damn bar? I’m not going to let you in here. You can find guys anywhere. Get out of here!”
I responded “I’m here because I want to see the Ace In The Hole band!” He handed me a tray and said “If that’s true, go take some orders.” He told me to get to work. I worked there for 4 years. I got to tell them that on stage before I introduced Dean Dillon in San Marcos one night with the Ace In The Hole band. It all makes a crazy circle. That’s also how I met my husband who also worked there. I worked there and saw the guys in the band every Monday night. Ronnie Huckaby was drinking $3.25 crown and cokes.
All the old men would hang out at the coffee shop. Tommy Foote who was the drummer of Ace in the Hole was the one that gave my husband $20 to take me on our first date. I feel like I am name dropping but I’m not! I don’t really know these guys but they had a huge impact on my life. I just love music!
So I graduated, went on with my life, tried to be a good person. Then came Cross Canadian Ragweed. Someone had given me a tape. I think it was the Purple album. I was like what in the hell is this? This is cool. This was when it was cool because no one knew about it. That’s what made it cool!
Being from Gatesville, which is my hometown, which is next to Waco, is how we fell into Pat Green. He was from Waco. We would do the Salsa and Margarita festival. We would go because it just made you cool!
After we had been newlyweds for 4-5 years, my husband was playing professional softball. I wasn’t going to the bar by myself! Then, because of Ragweed, I went to a show and fell in love with Dierks Bentley. You know, Ragweed and Bentley toured together.
Then comes the internet! This is just a good old fashioned message board. I absolutely loved the Dierks Bentley message board. This was before social media. Dierks Bentley would go on his message board and talk with us. Dierks was really good. He got on early. I absolutely loved it. This is when people where just getting internet. It was really cool to talk to other bands. This was before his first album.
This is gonna be a crazy story. I am gonna blow your mind right now! The message board name was “Christie with a camera”. I always loved doing photographer. I learned that if you took a camera to a concert, people just thought you were cool! I just loved photography so much. The moderator of Dierk’s message board was Scottie K. I didn’t know who he was. I just know that when I got out of line I would get tagged because I had such a potty mouth. There were a lot of people that were just fucking psycho. You could definitely tell the people that were crazy and the ones who weren’t. I would go to Vegas to see Dierks Bentley. I have friends all over the world just from this damn message board.
Here is how all this goes down. I love Dierks, Scottie K. was the moderator. I got officially kicked out after too many people told on me for being a cyber bully. I get this letter from this guy that was like, “we think you are hysterical. But we have warned you to many times. You have got to go!” There was another moderator named Pete. I was like fuck all ya’ll.
Little did I know Scottie K. was Deirks’ manager. Who was also Lee Ann Womack’s manager. Wade Bowen had just signed on to have Scottie as his manager. It got to be that Dierks was so big we couldn’t see him anymore. My local friends kind of became the Bowen stalkers instead of Dierk stalkers because now Dierks is too expensive. The day the “If We Ever Make it Home” album came out, he was doing a album release party in Austin. I lived in Gatesville at the time. I saw on myspace that he was giving away tickets for the show and I won. I took the day off work and drove to Auston. At the end of the show we were getting our stuff signed.
Up walks this guy who says “Someone told me you were Christie with the camera.”
I said “yes” and he sad “I’m Scottie K.”
“Oh you asshole. You kicked me out. I’m funny!”
He said ”You’re not gonna believe this. I called everyone that I know from Dierk’s camp because we could have sworn you were a 300 lbs lady that never left the house. Bo no one knew who you were or what you looked like but you gave us hours of entertainment.”
He said, ‘Today Dierks fired me. He went with different management.”
He had just came out with the video with the flames and the break dancing. He was just becoming so mainstream and just wasn’t the Dierks that we love.
We struck up a friendship and I just knew him as Scottie K. That gave me legitimacy because I would send him my images. That was my gateway. I wasn’t that popular in the Gary Allan club and I had a lot of friends in the Gary Allan club. They have just been together so long they just don’t let anyone new in. These bitches are hard core. Gary Allan fans will kill you!
We would go out on the road to see shows with my camera. We would see Creager, Wade or Dierks. I would tell stories about our road trips. The official name of the fan club was the Dierks Bentley Congress. My friend started sharing the stories because they were in them. You know they were funny, cheeky, and full of vulgarities. Just like I am!
If it was a bad show, I talked shit about it. The only place you could go online to message were message boards like Galley Winter. I never really fit in because every artist would have a different moderator. If you said anything negative they would delete it. I always had in mind that if I had my own message board I wouldn’t delete anything. I guess it’s unfair for me to say that since I am kind of in the public eye with radio. You can’t have it both ways. If you are going to enjoy the perks of being a rock star, on whatever level, you have to accept some criticism or even lies. If you go to Perez Hilton’s website, anyone can go on there and say they did crack with who ever. That doesn’t make it true. I always said that after I get kicked out of Dierks’ message board that if I ever had my own I would let anyone say anything as long as it is not harmful or illegal.
LittleOkieLand: So you were sharing your stories and they were getting popular. Is that what inspired the blog?
Ballou: There are two stories to that one. First story is me and my friends had gone to see Roger Creagar in Waco. We were the only ones there and got there like an hour early. After the show he didn’t come out to sign t-shirts. It was so stupid because it isn't like we didn't have his picture. I think we felt a little entitled to have the bands come out and give autographs. I don't think that now, but I did then.
The other story is, the very first blog was written on music row in Nashville. That someone came to me and sad, “We have an idea, we think you are the person to go with it.”
That there was a handshake deal that I start this blog. They said, you be you, be sarcastic, funny, and talk shit. It will be great.
Somewhere in the middle of that is the truth. That deal lasted a week until people started reading the blog and getting upset. I lost people who I thought were really good friends because no one wanted to be attached to the blog anymore. Nobody knew who I was, but the people that did didn't even want to be seen with me. My writing was clearly me.
No one would have given a shit what the health inspector (Ballou’s current day job at the time) said, but if you write anonymously it matters. I don't think my writing is what made the blog successful, I think it was the ability for people to go in there and write whatever they wanted.
LittleOkieLand: I am sure it was a combo of that. One, you are a person who can say whatever you want and I think people are drawn to that. Two, you gave them the freedom to do the same so I think it is both.
Ballou: I have never ratted anyone out either. There were times I wrote articles, and I didn't just come up with that shit. Before the end of it I had radio promoters, managers, people like that feeding me stuff. I had a couple artists who came up to me and said "please start a fight with me, please talk shit about me. I need that push".
A lot of my success was because of Casey Donahew. I'm a cyber bully man, all I want is the attention! People can act like all supportive like they love what you do but everyone loves drama. Everyone would click back to see what was going on and there would be fights in the comments section. I loved every bit of it.
I look back at some the things I wrote that was just freaking mean. I never wrote anything with malice. I wrote it from a fan point of view. If went to your venue and there was no toilet paper in the bathrooms, or charging $9 for beer it was just part of my review.
I just know my life changed. I don't know how or when, but I do know I have a very supportive husband who allowed me to quit my job.
A lot of this happened after my father’s suicide. That is when I really came out of the closet. I worked for the government and I did a lot of blogs on government time. People would call me a coward hiding behind a fake name, and I wasn't hiding, it was just funny.
LittleOkieLand: Was it a hard choice to decide to take the radio gig and not hide or be anonymous anymore?
Ballou: My first radio gig was at a brand new station called "Shooter FM" in Waco. It was morning radio and I had no experience. I just knew I was tired of looking for rat shit in abandoned buildings. My father had just committed suicide. He left me some money. I had quit my job and was so depressed. I was so depressed I gained like 40lbs. I couldn't get out of bed and there was a lot going on. I needed something so I took it immediately. It was minimum wage, like $7.45. I was terrified. Not because people would know who I am.
I went to go work at Shooter and Chris Austin called me because he was a fan of the show. Kelly Peterson in west Texas, she was the first person who ever put me on the air to do recaps of what was going on. Then, Buddy Logan from Radio Texas live.
I did some stuff with Super Ben when he was with Ben Angelo, but I had never done anything with Chris Austin. I had also done some phone stuff, but I haven't ever done anything like it. To this day I think it is awesome they took a chance on me.
They had hired their T guy, the face of the station Terry Hunt. He had been in radio for a million years but didn't know anything about the music scene. He knew corporate radio and he knew it well, but with any on air team you have to have chemistry and we never did. I kind of feel bad because he was thrown into a brand new station, creating it from scratch with music and artists he wasn't familiar with and I couldn't even read the news. It was so awful I couldn't even read it. It was and still is the hardest thing I ever tried to do. People think you just get in there and talk, but it takes every insecurity and magnifies it by 5. I felt like they were trying to calm me down. In radio business they call it the dick, doe, and dork. The dork is like Bobby Bones, the guy that always runs the show. Then there is the doe who is the pretty girl who giggles and reads the news, then the dick who is like the asshole. I was the dick. I don't think he ever understood that. I think what confused him and I loved, was that we would have these artists come in and say we want the "Rita Experience". That is what they were expecting. They wanted to call me on shit I said. Like, "remember that time you said.....?" and I am like no I really don't.
Terry never read the blogs, so I don't think he got it. We just didn't gel well. I was still so depressed and grieving my dad. There are so many things you have to do when a parent dies. You have to sell stuff, and fight with your siblings over the money and it is just an ugly situation.
I look back now and realize I was not mentally well. To this day I still feel bad. I texted Chris Austin to tell him I quit. What a pussy move! Who does that!?!
LittleOkieLand: What year was all of this?
Ballou: I would have to look it up for you but I think 2012-13. I only quit for a week before I got a call from our competitor which was US105. The program directors name was Romeo and he was like, “hey we heard you quit and we were wondering if you would be interested in tracking a mid day show for us.”
I told him I never worked any equipment. I was just the girl Terry would point to and I would read the weather.
Romeo said, “We will show you how to do it. We like your Texas connections and we are trying to go that way.”
They were in town for a media company which is also the company for Radio Texas Live which was Buddy Logan. They liked what they heard. I told them I would come but I wasn't working for minimum wage. It wasn't a lot more but it was $9 an hour. I was there 11 months and I actually learned a lot. I really enjoyed it. I never really knew radio. I still don't think I know radio but I learned a lot. In the process of all this Eric Raines from KVET in Austin would come in and do my "all the dirt red dirt" segments, but he never aired them on the actual air. He would post them online. It was when Clear Channel was competing against Towncore media’s media online, and Eric knew if I shared the link on my stuff that people would click on it. It wasn't because I was any good, it was because Eric had to get his quota in.
At the time, Bob Cole had just got the axe from clear channel so they could run the Bobby Bones show. Eric and Bob always knew they wanted to come back and start the original cosmic cowboy, the original outlaw country station which was KOKE FM. Eric had to get out of the market for a certain amount of time because they had the non-compete. He had been at US105 for about 5 months, then they went and started KOKE. It was kind of like our original maybe side door plan. It sounds kind of shady but Eric was like we have been doing this for so long and we know it. You can't just hire the prettiest girl, with the best voice from Nebraska and expect her to just get it, saying all the damn names wrong and stuff.
Eric said, “I am gonna start a station and you are gonna do my afternoon drive show.”
And I was like sure dude, whatever, whatever whatever.
One day, after I had been at US105 for 11 months he called and asked if I was ready to move. I didn't believe he was serious. We got it all set up and it's been a year, and we are ready. Luckily, Wes' (Ballou’s husband) job was in Austin and he was driving back and forth from Gainsville. We packed up the house and moved to Austin and the rest is in history.
I've been with Eric for about 3 years now. He went and rejoined the morning show about 2 months ago. So I am back in the morning radio which is terrible because you don't sleep. It's different because you are not tracking like it's live. For the first time I feel encouraged to be the sassy pants that I am. Our ratings aren't awesome because we have a small signal. We have a sister station with a sports station which is kind of our big thing. We are an independent company. We are Austin owned non corporate company. They are really good about making me not hold back. Not everyone gets it, because of the conservative community but it has been good.
LittleOkieLand: Who is one of your favorite people to interact with whether it was on radio or as Rita Ballou?
Ballou: The phone interview with Jamie Fricke was kind of awesome. I got to go with Dean Dillon last year with the Ace in the Hole band as their head man. Their first show was down in New Braunfels in their theater. It’s a really cool old timey theater there. My old boss that hired me at Nephew’s was there. All the guys from the AITH band was there. I got to introduce Dean Dillon and the AITH band and explain. You can google, "The Ace in the Hole band made a woman out of me". It was really funny and explains how I met my husband and everything.
After introducing Dillon, I got to tell that story to the owner of the bar that I haven't seen in years and that was really cool. I got to go to Joe’s on weed in Chicago. I was invited by the owner Ed Warm, he was the nicest guy you ever met and really supportive of the Texas Music Scene. That's where Ragweed had their last show. Every year he does the "Windy City Smoke Out". One year they flew us up there and my job was the MC and I got to introduce all these Texas bands in Chicago. It was like we are a part of them.
I remember the Lonestar Jam. Me and my friend Kelly drove down and sat in the heat to be the first ones in. We get in and run up to one of the two stages and were just there. Now I get to introduce the bands and it's just bizarre. You know what the weird thing is that I am old now. Some of these young kids were in the 7th grade when I started blogging. I like that too. It never gave me to opportunity to talk shit about them because I would. I want to talk some shit. It's not that anyone has told me not to but I have learned to choose my battles. I got tired of walking in places I had to work and knowing I might have made someone uncomfortable at work. As much as I like to pretend to be a badass I didn't like making people feel uncomfortable while they are at work.
I know William Clark Green pretty much probably hates my guts and I don't know why other than I say he looks like Chaz Bono. There's a lot of guys that don't feel comfortable around me because they are afraid I will talk about them on the air. Damn right I will talk about you on the air. But I would hate for someone to come to my studio and make me uncomfortable because it is my house.
I don't even think I have anyone mad at me that I can think of anymore. I'm sure Casey Donahew hates my guts but I haven't even thought of that for years. I think everything comes around full circle. I think there are a few people who got pissed off that would be begging me to talk to them now. Press is good
LittleOkieLand: Do you still have people who assume your name is Rita?
Ballou: My boss at the station didn't even know my name was Crystal. He never knew it wasn't Rita. There are a lot of people working at the station with radio names and that is just how it goes. There are a lot of people who haven't heard the Guy Clark song. I chose that name as an homage and if you knew it you knew, and if you didn't it was just my name.
Everyone calls me Rita except my husband and my mom and it is very weird. They were always the same person. It is the same shit I would have said on my Myspace page.
LittleOkieLand: Any other snarky funny stories that stand out in your career?
Ballou: The whole Waco classic where Melinda Donahew tried to beat me up. That was the craziest thing. No one has ever been really mad at me and yell at me in real life. I think I was a scapegoat for a lot of people’s anger. There are so many people who would say that they said the same things I did, but I was the one to take the blame.
Charla Corn had just started her night show with Adam Drake and they had a message board where you could watch and talk to them. This was right after Rita so I would click in there and see what was going on. They had a contest for Loretta Lynn tickets at Billy Bob’s and I answered all the trivia questions and won the tickets. Charla told me to come up and have dinner with her and her boyfriend. She was introducing Loretta Lynn. I have never really met her so I was so excited. There was no mention of going back stage. Of course we got a hotel room and I posted about it all week. Charla called me in tears apologizing that she didn't want to do this, but I guess there was a phone call from a concerned citizen. I am not sure if it was Melinda but I think it was, saying that you need to watch out for Rita Ballou and she doesn't need to be there. I don't know what they thought I was going to do other than be sitting there watching the show. Charla had just started at her station and didn't have a lot of pull, and was so sorry she had to do that.
I just remember crying huge ugly tears in the car just thinking it was not worth it. That night I got a text from Bart Crow saying come to my show across town. The coolest thing about that is I come back and tell my story on my blog. It was my story to tell. I wasn't pissed at Charla or the Billy Bob’s people. Judy Hubbard had read it. I didn't know who she was. She emailed me and said they love my stuff and think it’s hysterical. And that there were two tickets, second row, Loretta Lynn show in Houston. She said, “I don't care what anyone says, everyone should be able to enjoy the music.’
They kind of adopted us. There was a time when no one was talking to me or wanted anything to do with me. When Ray Wylie Hubbard stands up for you, that is cool. He's done it on several occasions with Lone Star Music Magazine. When you get to know people as people instead of just bloggers those are the best relationships.
I think people are disappointed when they meet me in person and I am sweet. I think they expect me to be like, “eat a bowl of dicks”.
I'm kind of bitchy but I am super nice until you piss me off.
I remember going to the red dirt round up and we stood out there for hours sweating and we ran to the front of the stage. We wanted to be there and we wanted to experience it and it was about being with your friends. People laugh because if you are really into a band and go to a lot of shows you are just a groupie. No one ever offered me dick. Not once were we ever pulled back stage. I never had that experience once. I am sure there are feelings like you are a psycho and why do you keep coming to my shows. There is a point that I am like get off your bus and come out here right now and sign some shit. I've seen Kevin Fowler do it in the rain and the fucking sleet and do it for hours until the last person got their autograph. I’ve seen Aaron Watson do you. You know they don't want to do it, but they’ll do it.
LittleOkieLand: It’s really their job. Without the fans no one is buying your records and you are no one without them. You just have to give the fans some respect and perks every once in a while too.
Ballou: I see a lot of bands who have done absolutely nothing. They put out a couple songs. They will come to the studio and not want to bring their guitar. I’m like, look bitch, dance monkey dance. There is nothing you have to say. I am not going to give you an hour commercial during drive time in Austin Texas for fucking Cheatham Street where they can’t even hear our station because you just don't have anything cool to say yet now. You may have some girls standing outside for you, you may have a make believe #1 record on a make believe music chart but you still have to work for it. If Ray Wylie Hubbard can come in here, if Radney fucking Foster can come in here with their guitar and play so can you. You pat our backs and we’ll pat yours, it drives me nuts sometimes. Or they come in here all hung over, I’m like I get it dude, you’re a rock star, fucking febreeze yourself down and such it up for 30 minutes. You are not Bono. Eric is going to ask you the good questions and I’m going to ask you the asshole questions because that’s what we do. You need to play along or get the fuck out, because I’ve got people standing in line to get on the air. Eric gets mad when I say that, but it’s true, he’s just too nice of a guy.
And that Ladies and Gentlemen is the history and adventure of Rita Ballou herself, in her own words. She might not blog anymore but her social media posts are just as entertaining, go look her up and start following her. Trust me, she's a hoot and a half.
There's actually so much more to her than this interview even explains that I've learned just through following her over the years, like her inability to cook, her fierce love of her babies Dolly and Dewey (and all of their shenanigans) who are her dachshund duo, the fact that her husband Wes was her high school sweetheart, and that she would much rather be at home in bed watching TV curled up with her pups as opposed to being out in the night life. I personally love that she is such a "real" person and isn't afraid to share that with everyone; the good, the bad and the ugly. I look forward to our paths crossing someday and getting the chance to meet her in person.