LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Kentucky family remembers performing in Washington, D.C., for the inaugural gala for President George H.W. Bush.
It was nearly 30 years ago when the singing, fiddling and clogging family act Kentucky Country answered the call of a lifetime.
“We were used to getting calls. Can you do this? Can you do that? But this special call came in that the new president and his wife saw you on TV and want your kids to perform at their inauguration. It was like, ‘What, are you kidding?'” Sharon Bubenzer said. She is the Kentucky Country Mother.
Barbara Bush had watched Kentucky Country play on the show ‘Incredible Sunday’ and asked if they would come to Washington for the inaugural gala.
About eight years prior, the kids and their cousins moved out to Las Vegas with their mom and dad’s band on a contract.
“They were always practicing and we were always in the way, so they decided to give me a fiddle, teach me how to play. Then, of course, my next cousin was like, ‘Well, I’m not going to let him get all the attention,’ so she started. And my sister was the next in line, so she started. And then my cousin was the next and that’s how we started,” said Nathan Ratcliff of Kentucky Country.
They performed around the world and across the country, and then they were called to dance for the president.
“When the president tells you to dance, you dance,” said Ratcliff.
Now, after Bush’s passing, the family says they remember the former president as a down-to-earth person.
“He was a very warm person. He seemed just like any other guy, like he was not better than you or anything. He just kind of came up, ‘Hi, I’m George,’ and shook your hand,” said Ratcliff.
“That he would treat the children that way, and specifically shake their hands and tell them he enjoyed what they did and they did a great job. I think that just shows what a father really, figure that he was for the country,” said Bubenzer.