Rick Hughlett RICK'S AUTOMOTIVE, SPRINGFIELD
Springfield’s Rick Hughlett epitomizes what Ingram’s editors look for in selecting a 50 Missourian to feature: An accomplished and successful businessman (he’s founder and owner of Rick’s Automotive and Tire Center, right smack next door to Bass Pro’s headquarters), but he and wife Karen are also heavily engaged in serving community needs. And they aren’t taking life lying down: Rick is an avid hot air balloonist and pilot, they enjoy boating on their cruiser at the Lake of the Ozarks, they are scuba divers and most often explore the waters surrounding the Cayman Islands and he’s an avid motorcyclist on top of his 100th Anniversary Harley Road King Classic.
Rick’s Automotive primarily serves commercial fleet vehicles and is among the most innovative in the industry. It works on the ambulance fleet for St. John Medical Center, Cox Health and the Springfield Fire Department. Hughlett and his team have earned the respect of some of the most important organizations that demand dependable mobility. One of the most endearing qualities of Hughlett is his compassion; when one of his employees had a child with a serious illness that required extraordinary emergency care, Hughlett organized a concert to benefit the family. He is also a long-time advocate for the community, and serves on the board of directors of the Ozarks Technical College.
Rhonda Vincent RHONDA VINCENT AND THE RAGE, KIRKSVILLE
Granted, she got an early start, with her first stage appearance at age 5. But, as is often the case with musical success, Rhonda Vincent labored for 33 years to master her craft before becoming an “overnight” sensation in the world of bluegrass music. She’s shared a microphone with Dolly Parton, plays the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville and has been dubbed “the new queen of bluegrass” by The Wall Street Journal. But Rhonda Vincent has always been a Missouri girl, and a Missouri girl she'll remain.
“My husband and I made the decision early on” to live in Kirksville, near her hometown of Green Top, she says. “I loved being in my home area—my parents are there, our relatives are there—we wanted to raise our children there. So I made the decision to commute.”
The 49-year-old, fifth-generation musician has pulled in more than 70 musical awards since cutting her first album in 1986. She and her band—Rhonda Vincent and the Rage—are bluegrass royalty. Vincent has won Entertainer of the Year honors from the International Bluegrass Music Association, which also accorded her seven straight Female Vocalist of the Year awards.
Music, she said, was always in the family. “Dad used to pick me up after school, and Grandpa would come over and we played until after dinner almost every night,” Vincent remembers. “There wasn’t a lot going on in Green Top, but it was always hopping at the Vincent house.”
Given her global travels, people in town mistakenly think she’s moved on; she still bumps into folks at Wal-Mart who are surprised to see her “back” in town. “I travel the world,” Vincent says, “but when I hit reset button, I’m home.”