** Ricky has retired from touring **
Effective May 1, 2006
 

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The Man 

Ricky was born in Danville, Virginia to Jenks and Eloise Shelton. He was brought up  in a small community called Grit, where his family still lives today. Ronnie and Don Shelton are his brothers, and his sisters are Judy Underwood and Cacky Guill. Ricky is the youngest sibling.

Ricky with his Mom and Dad
Ricky with his Mom and Dad,
Eloise and Jenks Shelton

Ricky as a young boyAs a young boy, he loved being outdoors, and would camp out in the neighborhood woods during the summer with his friends; all they needed was a blanket. They used to explore the area and hiked for miles each day -- his youth was filled with fun, innocence and daily adventures.

During his school days, Ricky's favorite classes were art and chorus. He loved to paint and draw pictures and was able to earn his spending money by selling one oil painting a week to local customers. 

  
Besides drawing, Ricky spent a great deal of his time singing; whether he was in church, at fish fries, or in his bedroom -- singing was Ricky's life. He fell in love with country music when he was fourteen years old  and discovered a style that combined gospel, rock n' roll and soul music. He has been hooked on country ever since.

Ricky Van, The Early DaysAfter high school, he continued to perform wherever possible, accepting local bookings at lodges, clubs, and private parties. For years, he worked a regular day job, rehearsed in the evenings and performed on week-ends. His past jobs have included car salesman, house painter, plumber, appliance store manager and construction worker. He pumped gas at Jack Dawson's service station and even cut up chickens in the meat department of a local grocery store. Whenever a particular "day" job interfered with his "music", he quit and found something else.

He started dating Bettye Witt in 1979; and in December 26, 1984, the two of them moved to Nashville Tennessee, to try their luck in the music business. Bettye had accepted a position as Personnel Manager with a new company; and Ricky spent his days cleaning house, writing songs and preparing his voice to be ready for his "big break". At night, Ricky visited local night clubs, making contacts in the industry and handing out homemade demos to whomever would
listen.

Bettye as a young girl   
Ricky's drawing of  Bettye as a young girl

 Bettye and Ricky were married August 4, 1986, the same year Ricky signed with CBS Records. They have built a log house outside of Nashville and raise a small herd of Beefalo cattle. Ricky has also written and published a series of children's books, called "Tales From a Duck Named Quacker".

Today, when he's not touring, Ricky spends time flying his airplane, working on his 150-acre farm, gardening, repairing his collection of classic cars and antiquing.

Some of his favorite things are:
Food:   Pinto Beans, Steak, Yeast Rolls, Tomatoes, Coconut Cream Pie 
Clothes:     Blue jeans, T-shirt, ball cap & cowboy boots
TV: Old Movies
Sports: Boxing
Hobby: Painting
Pass Time Aviation
Song My Way
Color Red
Tree Evergreens (Especially Hemlock)
 

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