Eubanks: Branson bounces back

Payne Stewart Golf Club of Branson Hills, Payne Stewart Back It was February 29, Leap Day, and one of the 15 tornados that ripped through the Midwest that night had tossed Wright’s house aside like a loose impediment. He immediately drove from Kansas City to see what was left of his weekend lake house in a town known for spreading joy and relaxation. According to Wright, “The house was destroyed, my stuff was in the woods and all over the place: it was a pretty emotional scene. Then my wife and I drove a few miles toward town to see what else had happened. We saw a couple in a lower-end neighborhood standing outside the pile of rubble that had been their home. They were just standing there with electricians and emergency workers pulling powers lines all around them. They were holding their little dog like it was the only thing they had left. “Right then I told my wife, ‘We’re going to be alright. We’ll rebuild. And we’ll help others rebuild to the extent that we can.’ It could have been a lot worse. We just put our head down and kept going.” That sums up Branson, before and after the storm. A recreation area that boomed after World War II because of its great fishing and wildlife, the residents of Branson began entertaining their guests with bluegrass music and outdoor plays. As the visitors expanded, so did the entertainment. Now, with 50 theaters, 25,000 lodging rooms (hotels and condos) and 7.8 million visitors a year, the name ‘Branson’ is recognized around the world for its family-friendly entertainment and outdoor activities.


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