On September 16, 1964, KTEN, Channel 6 in Ada Oklahoma aired the first showing
of "Music Country Style" that was the creative idea of Rod Kettler. The star and host
of the show was Billy Gray. And the 'lady of song' on the show was Rozena Eads.
Rozena is a native of a small town named WIlburton, Oklahoma but moved
to the town of Hartsborne when she was five and grew up there. A 1964 article makes
mention of small towns having a water tower, the boys tried to climb it, the girls
saw it as a town symbol. But Rozena wanted to see her name there, or at the time,
saw her name as an entertainer.
Rozena wasn't the only talent that grew up in Hartsborne. Baseball fans will remember
the name of Hall of Fame pitcher Warren Spahn of the Milwaukee Braves. His name is on
the watertower in Hartsborne.
The article waxes eloquently on Rozena and the small town girl image trying to get
her name on the 'watertower'. She was said to be quite a down to earth person,
making good impressions with all the folks that she came into contact with and worked with.
She attended college at Eastern Oklahoma A. & M. majoring in business.
When she graduated from college, she worked with a prison band. The state prison out of McAlester, Oklahoma
put on what they call the Prison Rodeo. This gave her some valuable experience. One of the guys
in the band gave her a name to contact if she ever made it to Dallas, Texas - a gentleman
by the name of John Hicks who was with Glenn Advertising. When the prison rodeo was over
she found a reason to be in Dallas.
Rozena found work as a stenographer. But at the same time, music was still a good part of
her life. She scratched that itch one day and gave John Hicks a phone call. That led
to an introduction to John Hit of MCA. But while she auditioned with them as a country
and western singer, Mr. Hit thought she would have more success as a pop singer. But at the
time, Rozena was confident she could do either; she just wanted to sing.
Her first professional job was on April Fools Day 1959 and made her mark
with the fans almost from the start. Her appearances saw her with folks such as Charlie Barnett, Tex Beneke
(the old Glenn Miller band) Ted Weems, Claude Thornhill and many others.
She found work in Las Vegas in the Stardust Lounge and
in the Skyroom at the Fremont Hotel.
After her work in Las Vegas, she found herself doing an appearance in Wichita Falls, Texas,
where John Hicks (of the Big 'D' Jamboree fame) who once prodded her to do pop tunes
was now singing his own different tune - that suggested Rozena would be better doing
country vocals. One thing led to another and she joined Billy Gray and the Nuggetts.
This got her back into the country music field. Billy Gray helped and assisted her.
Her first release on the Longhorn label was, "Dear Mrs. Lucky" b/w "B. M. Loves D. J."
In 1964, she was appearing with Billy Gray and his troupe, not only in personal
appearances but taping the show, "Music Country Style" that originated from the
studios of WFAA out of Dallas.
Rozena later met a person who would change her life - her husband, Roy Horsley. She felt
that a good marriage wouldn't be worth the price of continuing her music career, so it
came to an end. In 2007, she writes that she has enjoyed 42 years of happiness.
Credits & Sources
- Country Music Review; November/December 1964; Vol. 1, No. 10; Cal-Western
Publications, Inc.; 1660 S. State College Blvd., Anaheim, California