• Added info on Jimmy Ford, thanks to Volker Houghton. • Extended and corrected the post on Happy Harold Thaxton (long overdue), thanks to everyone who sent in memories and information! • Added information to the Jim Murray post, provided by Mike Doyle, Dennis Rogers, and Marty Scarbrough. • Expanded the information on Charlie Dial found in the Little Shoe post.

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Arkansas-Oklahoma Jamboree

Downtown Fort Smith, Garrison Avenue, 1950s

The Arkansas-Oklahoma Jamboree was held in Fort Smith, Arkansas, located (as the show's name suggests) in the Arkansas-Oklahoma border region. The show was the brainchild of wrestling promoter Jimmy Lott and we only find mention of this show in November 1956 in both the Billboard and Cash Box publications. Linda Flanagan, a local country music singer still in her teens, was slated to be the star of the show. It was held at the Sports Arena, sometimes also billed as Jimmy Lott's Sports Arena.

Jimmy Lott

James Newman "Jimmy" Lott was born on January 31, 1908, in Jefferson County, Alabama, and grew up in Birmingham. He was active in both football and boxing during high school and after graduating, he became a professional wrestler, known as "Kid" Lott in the early and mid 1930s. In the early 1950s, he relocated to Fort Smith, Arkansas, and gave up wrestling in favor of promoting. He promoted mostly for LeRoy McGuirk's Tri-State Wrestling organization and many of its events were held at the Sports Arena.

In 1956, he briefly branched out promoting other kind of events, including his Arkansas-Oklahoma Jamboree. However, it is not known if this show was a one-shot or if it became a regular feature in Fort Smith. It was neither mentioned if it aired on radio. The same year, there is mention of a show entitled "Saturday Night Radio Center Jamboree" on KWHN that could have been the successor of Lott's show. In 1958, Billboard told its readers about the "Country Music Jamboree" that took place on Thursday nights (eventually changed to Friday nights) at the Sports Arena. It aired live over KWHN and also featured Linda Flanagan as well as local artists like Little George Domerese, Jerry Roller, and Carl Blankenship. Though it is not clear if this was the same show, a successor or an entirely new program.

Lott retired from promoting in the early 1970s and passed away on January 3, 1979, in Panama City, Florida.

See also
Linda Flanagan on Razorback

Wrestling Data
Jimmy Lott Find a Grave entry

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