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The Reluctant Leader


Bobby Studio.JPG

Bobby Sims, the reluctant leader of Ice House Road

To say that Bobby's first love is music would not be accurate. No, Bobby's passion is in the arena, pitting his own athletic ability against a 2,000 pound bull. Bobby was quite the athlete in high school, playing Football and wrestling. When he wasn't at school or practice he would probably be found at his family's Tripple "S" Ranch in Stanardsville Virginia. Riding horses, putting up a fences, driving a tractor, taking care of the farm, doing whatever his Santa Clause-like dad, Gary Lee, thought needed doing.

After high school, some time at George Mason University, and a brief stint at a sprinkler company, Bobby decided he wasn't cut out for life in an office, in a normal job. Bobby went to Ferrier school in Oklahoma, and has been supporting himself trimming and shoeing horses feet ever since.

Bobby's love for tying himself to the back of an angry bull and holding on for eight seconds took him around the country to countless professional bull rides. Many hours on the highway in beat up old Cadillacs and pickup trucks with his friends Josh Cash and Wes Bagoon would become a main subject of Bobby's future songwriting. It was the life of a bull rider on the road for several years. Bobby made the transition from bull rider to bull fighter in the mid-2000's. He's now the guy that jumps between the wrong end of a bull and the cowboy on the ground, all so the cowboy can escape, hopefully, unhurt. Bobby is a natural performer, and shows nothing but confidence when he steps into the ring to do battle with a bull.

Somewhere along the way Bobby picked up a guitar and started learning the songs he'd grown up with, and newer stuff that was on constant repeat in the old Cadillac on the way to the next bull ride. Bobby and his hometown friend Charles Wyant got a deal on a small PA system, some drums and some amps. They found themselves jamming these old country and southern rock songs two-three nights a week, sometimes joined by neighbour Dewey Hodge. Something was missing, and when Charles found out his friend Adam Stoffel played drums he was quickly invited in to jam, and Ice House Road was born.

Bobby's Living Room was, and still is the home of Ice House Road. Every Ice House Road practice has been at Bobby's house. In the early days practices would start around 9pm any given night of the week, and wouldn't stop until two or three in the morning, or when the cops were called, whichever came first. It was not uncommon to find a deputy on Bobby's front stoop, listening to the music for a few minutes before he knocked and asked them to turn it down.

All this practice took Bobby from being a guitar novice to being a solid rhythm, sometimes lead guitar player. Despite Bobby's confidence next to a mad bull in front of thousands of screaming fans, Bobby did not have early confidence in his musical abilities. It was clear to anyone that heard him sing and play though, that there was something very heartfelt and genuine in Bobby's voice. He had true twang, not that fake twang found in popular country music.

Ice House Road's first gig was at, where else, a bull ride, thanks to Bobby's long time bull riding buddy, and fellow Ferrier, Wes Bagoon. Bobby, Dewey, and Adam played a mix of Johnny Cash, Cross Canadian Ragweed, Reckless Kelly, Willie Nelson, Charlie Daniels and thought of themselves as Outlaw Country. They played at many bull rides with many different bass players and one or two mediocre lead guitar players, sometimes with no lead guitar player. Bobby shouldered the weight of being the face of Ice House Road despite being a nervous reck before each performance. Somehow Bobby exudes a macho confidence couple with his natural, simple, unpretentiousness that is very endearing to an audience. It's these qualities and his country-boy charm that make Bobby the leader of the band, whether he likes it or not.

It wasn't long after Ice House Road started playing regular gigs in Central Virginia that Bobby started writing songs. Like any good lyricist Bobby takes inspiration from the world he knows. The world of farm living, bull riding, risk taking, heartbreaking, church going, and family all have inspired the songs of Ice House Road. The many hours spent listening to bad ass country songs with his friends may have helped shaped the style in which Bobby plays, but it's the real things in Bobby's life that are made plainly engaging in his lyrics.

Bobby's family has been hugely supportive of Bobby's pursuits, especially music. The encouragement and support of his parents finally landed Bobby and the band in a studio recording a CD. If you can still find a copy of the now out-of-print "Outlaw Band" you'll find Bobby's signature on every song, especially the "Bull Ride Song" on which Bobby sings about his time spent traveling to bull rides with his buddies.

It was in 2010-2013 that Bobby's bull fighting career, charity work (Ride Rank For a Cure, which works to increase cancer awareness and support individuals with cancer) and love life caused Ice House Road to go through several ups and downs. Sometimes months would go by without a practice or gig. Bobby was named SEBRA Bull fighter of the year two years in a row and he stays in high demand as a bull fighter, Bobby travelled to Kansas to support Ride Rank and even put on his own Ride Rank bull fighting school back home in Virginia.

But it was also during this time Bobby put pen to paper and wrote several new songs. When the band finally got back into a groove, these new songs, a song given to Bobby by a friend in Texas, Laramie Collins, and some new arrangements of some of the "Outlaw Band" songs were the inspiration the guys needed. In early 2013 the band had its focus and drive restored, and made preparations to go back into the studio. Bobby had been writing songs, the band had been practicing regularly, and the next CD was born. Bobby and the band are quite proud of their new CD "The More You Drink, The Better We Sound." The title is a humble Bobbyism he tells just about every audience during every show.