Best of 417 2015

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article was fact checked and accurate at press time, but 417 Magazine cannot guarantee its accuracy indefinitely.

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Meganne Rosen O’Neal, a Springfield native who is super-involved in the Springfield arts scene and co-owns Arts & Letters, was voted Best Creative Mind. 

Best Creative Mind

Meganne Rosen O’Neal

Second Place: Mike N Gary    

Third Place: Uncle Gregory


Best Original Band

Mark Chapman Band

Second Place: Bella Donna

Third Place: Delta Sol Revival


Best Cover Band

Members Only

Second Place: Machine Gun Symphony

Third Place: The Mixtapes


Best Solo Musician

Mark Chapman

Second Place: Shawn Eckels

Third Place: Cori Jay


Best Male TV Personality

Brandon Beck with KY3

Second Place: Ethan Forhetz with KY3

Third Place: Jerry Jacob with KSPR

Best Female TV Personality

Lisa Rose with KY3

Second Place: Sara Forhetz with KY3

Third Place: Maria Neider with KY3


Best Radio Personality or Team

J. Fotsch

Second Place: Kevin Howard and Liz Delany

Third Place: Jennifer Scott


Best Person You Wish Would Run for Public Office

Doug Pitt

Second Place: Ruell Chappell

Third Place: Jeff Schrag


Best Do Gooder

Doug Pitt

Second Place: Jimm Swafford

Third Place: Michelle Cramer    

Photo courtesy Branson Famous


Branson Famous

When we heard that there was going to be a show about The Baldknobbers and the family behind the long-running Branson show, we figured it would be a one-time special. Probably a documentary. What we didn’t realize until we saw the trailer for Branson Famous was that it’s a full-fledged, drama-laden reality series full of finger-pointing, angry yelling, manipulative sass and… wait for it… musical confessions. Oh lordy. The reality show addict inside us couldn’t turn away. These are the Baldknobbers? The show premiered on truTV in late December, but you can watch the trailer here.


Best Person to Show You the Great Outdoors

Dan Nash

Dan Nash is madly in love with the outdoors, and we are madly in love with Dan Nash. Nash is founder of Hiking the Ozarks (, a local group that provides education classes focusing on the outdoors, and owner of Satori Expeditions (, a small boutique-style guide service that takes clients hiking and backpacking all over the world. Nash has reviewed gear for outdoor companies and publications including the Gear Institute, Backpackers Review and Backpacker Magazine, and he has backpacked, climbed and guided on five continents and in both the Himalaya and Andes mountain ranges. But although he’s backpacked all around the globe, Nash loves hiking in the Ozarks and sharing the beautiful 417-land outdoors with everyone he can. He’s the most educated outdoorsman we know, and we’re proud he calls 417-land home.


Best “We Didn’t Know They Had it in ‘Em!”

Kansas City Royals

If you live in southwest Missouri, you know it’s practically the beating heart of Cardinal Nation. Really… going anywhere in our corner of the state without seeing a 417-lander wearing Cardinals gear is nearly impossible. But last fall, baseball fans in 417-land and all across Missouri had something new to be excited about. While the Cardinals lost the National League Championship and kissed their dreams of the 2014 series goodbye, the Kansas City Royals showed up and played their hearts out, winning their first A.L. pennant in 29 years, becoming the champions of the American League and making it all the way to the World Series for the first time since 1985. It was a long-awaited experience for those tried-and-true fans who bleed blue, and it gave the rest of us a reason to watch. We’re proud of the fans, who filled Kauffman Stadium with a sea of blue and showed America that KC MO has some of the classiest, most loyal fans around. And we’re proud of the Royals, who kept it exciting all the way through the ninth inning of game seven.


Best Home-Town Author of 2014

Laura McHugh

Southwest Missouri has another home-grown name to brag about: Laura McHugh. Author of the acclaimed murder mystery novel The Weight Of Blood, McHugh grew up in a tiny town a tiny town in 417-land and based a lot of the book’s characters and grim setting around her hometown. If you haven’t already thumbed through this chilling page-turner, you should! It was ranked No. 2 on Entertainment Weekly’s must-read list and has found its way to the top of many reading lists.


Best How’d-We-Get-This-Guy?

Roland Parny

Maybe he heard about the blossoming dining scene here in 417-land, or maybe he just had a yearning to see the best of the Midwest. Whatever it was that brought Roland Parny to our neck of the woods, we’ll take it! Since he brought his French cuisine to Fordland and opened La Galette Berrichonne (143 E. Main St., Fordland, 417-738-2112,, 417-landers have been flocking to this foodie paradise to devour Parny’s croissants, apple tarts, cream puffs, croque madame and chicken dubois. Viva la France!

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