Joe Don Rooney Itinerary
The story of Rascal Flatts guitarist and singer Joe Don Rooney starts in Picher, now an Oklahoma ghost town. Although his hometown is inaccessible to tourists, fans can still see some of the nearby points of interest that shaped Rooney’s early life. Check out some of these popular places that Joe Don Rooney frequented while growing up.
Stop 1: Quapaw, OK
A short drive from Picher, Joe Don Rooney spent quality time with family in Quapaw. Whether visiting his uncles here for a garage jam session or hanging out with his parents on their farm outside the city, Rooney made many memories in this humble town.
“They [my parents] tried to live in Kansas for a little bit, and it drove my dad nuts,” Rooney said. “He said, ‘Those taxes are just ridiculous in Kansas. Ya know I’m just gonna, we’re gonna move back to Oklahoma.’ They lived there for about a year maybe, maybe two. They came back to live in Quapaw.”
Stop 2: Main Street Miami
As a teen, Joe Don Rooney enjoyed dragging Main Street in Miami with his friends. Stroll through the strip and find a variety of shops and restaurants in this iconic Oklahoma town.
Stop 3: Charlie's Chicken & Barbecue
To earn some extra cash while growing up, Joe Don Rooney landed a job at Charlie’s Chicken & Barbecue in Miami. Stop by and order the infamous chicken chunk dinner, complete with hot sides like black eyed peas, mac & cheese and broccoli rice casserole.
Stop 4: Buffalo Run Casino & Resort
Joe Don Rooney and the rest of the Rascal Flatts crew took the stage for a homecoming show at Buffalo Run Casino & Resort, a venue near his former hometown of Picher. Catch a musical act at this northeastern Oklahoma stage, or try your hand at raking in cash on the gaming machines and live table games.
Stop 5: Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College
Book a college tour at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College to see where Joe Don Rooney enrolled in classes for a few years before going fulltime with his music. His dad also worked at this Miami junior college for 25 years, the same school where Rooney’s sister and brother-in-law once attended.
Stop 6: Grand Grove Opry
See the original Opry where Joe Don Rooney got his start as a musician. When he was 15, Rooney played guitar at Grand Grove Opry, a place where Nashville Opry members would tour once a month. It was here that Rooney found himself surrounded by Grand Ole Opry legends like Merle Haggard, Connie Smith and other top country music acts.
“Getting to see these Opry members with their fantastic bands and musicianship come in once a month and getting to meet all these amazing people and be around that extraordinary music and talent was really inspiring for me,” Rooney said.
Stop 7: Tulsa Zoo
Joe Don Rooney took weekend trips south to Tulsa during his childhood. See rhinos, sea lions and chimpanzees roaming through exhibits at the Tulsa Zoo, a place where Rooney and his family often visited in the summer.
Stop 8: Cain's Ballroom
While cutting his teeth as a teenage musician, Joe Don Rooney joined opening acts on the Cain’s Ballroom stage. Plan to see a show at this legendary venue where Rooney gained performance experience growing up.
Stop 9: BOK Center
Rascal Flatts brought their 2013 Changed Tour to the BOK Center in Tulsa. Grab tickets to a thrilling performance inside this downtown Tulsa arena venue, and imagine Joe Don Rooney taking the stage with his bandmates.
Stop 10: River Spirit Casino Resort
No stranger to the Tulsa music circuit, Rascal Flatts returned to treat their Oklahoma fans with a show at River Spirit Casino Resort in 2017. Purchase tickets to a live performance on the same stage where Joe Don Rooney sang harmony and delivered country guitar riffs. After the show, be sure to satisfy hunger cravings before hitting the slots.
Stop 11: Guthrie, OK
Joe Don Rooney made a special cameo in “Christmas in the Heartland,” a movie filmed in Guthrie. Visit this Oklahoma city and explore it through the fresh eyes of Rooney, who saw it for the first time while filming.
“With Guthrie, this is like, I’ve heard this said so many times now, it’s the town that time forgot,” Rooney said. “…It’s incredible. It feels so much like my hometown in Picher, but a bit bigger because Picher was a tiny town.”