When some people retire, they just want to sit back and relax. Others don’t know the meaning of retirement and stay even busier than they were while they were working full time. You are about to learn the story of two people just like that. Meet Peggy and Steve Sholy, formally from North Dakota and Minnesota respectively. They’ve both taken up hobbies since retirement by teaching themselves new skills via YouTube. They’ve become so successful at their new pastimes, they are selling the results of their endeavors at the local Pahrump Farmer’s Market. The market is now held at the Tractor Supply parking lot on Saturdays from 7:30 – 11:00 am in the summer and 8:30 am – 12:00 pm during the winter months. What is It they do? What exactly are their newly acquired talents? Peggy is a successful painter, and her husband, Steve, is a very accomplished woodworker.
“…their vocations were very different than how they stay occupied now.”
Neither of them participated in these tasks before they were retired. In fact, their vocations were very different than how they stay occupied now.
What did they do before retirement?
Peggy was a professional singer in a rock & roll band. She started out in one of the earliest all-girl rock bands called The Velvet Glove as the lead singer and guitar player. Being based out of Minnesota, they performed in both the United States and Canada. At this same time, Steve was booking bands promoting dances at National Guard Armories and larger concert venues. He’s worked with some famous groups including The Rip-Roaring Red Dogs from Lawrence, Kansas, Spencer Davis Group from England, the Canadian group The Guess Who, Jeanie C. Riley of “Harper Valley PTA” fame, and Dave Dudley, singer of the song “Six Days on the Road.” He booked groups up and down the Red River Valley of Minnesota and North Dakota. Steve’s dad would wait up for him, and together, they would count all the money from the night’s activities.
While producing, he became acquainted with the Overland Stage Band. Since he had access to a local studio at the time, it was easy for them to cut a record. Steve had a record label in Canada, so they played in both the US and Canada. The band competed in a contest and won first place. They went to Chicago and teamed up with The Ides of March producer, Bob Destocki. They soon signed a record deal with Epic Records, traveled to Los Angeles, and recorded an album. At this time, Epic was run by Clive Davis, who produced many top name performers including Whitney Houston.
The band was scheduled to go on tour to promote the album, but the lead guitar player decided he didn’t want to leave his $80 a week job and refused to go. That was the end of Steve’s music career until several years later. At age 62, Steve joined forces with Dave Hanson, former drummer of Overland Stage. They started a new publishing company called Hanson Sholy Music Group (HSMG) and represented over 50 songwriters from around the world. After five years, Steve decided to retire as Peggy was retiring too. How did they meet? Peggy and Steve met in Grand Forks, ND, in the summer of 1967. In Steve’s own words, “She was a vision!” He saw her as she walked out of the Great Northern Hotel, with beautiful long blonde hair, a white mini skirt, and gogo boots. He was smitten. The manager of her band told him to stay away from her as he had his eye on her as well. Steve had no choice but to step up and save Peggy’s virtue from this fellow. It was months before she finally agreed to go out on a date with him. He took her to the popular steakhouse, “Bronze Boot” in Grand Forks, ND, which was impressive as most guys would take her out for burgers or pizza. Even though her friends advised her not to go out with him, she thought he had a lot of things going for him. He drove a ’65 red Mustang convertible, his family owned a lake cottage at Pelican Lake, and his grandfather was a very successful banker.
Steve spent two years at Junior College in Wahpeton, ND, and one year at Morehead State. Then he transferred to the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks to be near Peggy. During her junior year, Peggy quit college and joined up with another all-girl band called Ingenues in Miami. The new group played in Miami and also went to Atlanta where they were the house band at the Playboy Club. Steve traveled south to see her.
A wedding that almost didn’t happen!
About two years later in 1969, they finally tied the knot…but it almost didn’t happen. The preacher at the church didn’t want to approve their marriage, sighting they were incompatible. At this time, Peggy, who grew up on a farm, didn’t have her driver’s license and Steve had just sold his car to have enough money to get married. He had to borrow a car to get to the church. Peggy’s dad was the president of the church council, so the preacher finally gave in. They’ll never forget the topic of his sermon, “Coke…it’s the Real Thing.” They’re still not quite sure where that came from, but after 49 years, they are still happily married.
Peggy gave up traveling and began working at a commercial credit organization. She still stayed in the music business by performing with local bands in Fargo. In 1972, she gave up being a secretary and rejoined the group, Ingenues, and went back on the road to Atlanta.
Peggy eventually left the band and returned to North Dakota where she again sang with local groups. Steve was working for Public Television as a producer/director. He produced two shows each week featuring guests like Bill Kunstler (lawyer for the Chicago Seven) and Hubert Humphrey, Senator V.P. Candidate. Eventually, Steve finished his degree in psychology and criminology. He paid his way through school by bartending at a steakhouse in Fargo.
“Peggy’s mother would be thrilled to know she took up where her mom left off with her painting. It’s her way of feeling close to her mom…”
Steve helped open a new steakhouse in Fargo called The Old Broadway. After about a year, his position disappeared as the restaurant was not doing well. Before he left, two of his customers asked him if he would go into business with them. He became part-owner and operations manager of The Country Kitchen in Columbia, Missouri.
By this time, Peggy was traveling again with a new band based in Minneapolis. This band was called the Heritage Band and had eight singers… four men and four women. She performed with them for about a year. She and Steve had been married for about eight years, and she decided to get off the road and joined Steve at the new restaurant as a hostess.
Starting a family and new careers
Over the next decade, they had three children, Sara, Will, and Kate. Peggy, who had always loved shopping and fashion, started her retail management career. Plus, they both worked in Steve’s restaurants. In due course, they sold the restaurants and moved to Salt Lake City, where he worked for Mass Mutual, skied in the mountains with his son Will and hunted for lost Spanish Treasure in the Uinta Mountains.
The move to Las Vegas
During this time, Steve read an advertisement for a management position in Las Vegas. He felt Peggy fit the bill perfectly and he sent in her resumé…and neglected to mention it to her. When the manager called her, Peggy didn’t know anything about it. She got the job, and they both moved to Las Vegas.
Peggy worked for 20 years as a department manager for Neiman Marcus. Steve was busy with his projects, including working at Four Queens in the food and beverage department, buying a restaurant/casino in Montana, starting a pizza restaurant in Las Vegas, and working with HSMG.
Retirement at last
When they retired, they started looking for property in Las Vegas but also in Pahrump. They liked the idea that it was close to the big city, but not too close. They’d both tired of the big city life and were looking for a change.
Peggy’s brother told them about the area, so they came to the Chili Cookoff and also toured the wineries. They were sold on the town and moved to Pahrump in 2014. When they moved in, Steve did all the work to landscape the backyard. The only problem was, they had no patio furniture. Not being one to sit still, he decided to make their furniture and taught himself. He started with planter boxes, then moved to tables and benches, and was soon into Adirondack chairs and swings. He’s even made some living room furniture, but he says that is for Peggy only. One thing led to another, and he was soon building furniture for other people. Thus, the start of a new career.
When her mother passed away, Peggy decided to try her hand at painting. She was looking for something to do, and her mother had always been a skilled painter. With acrylics and brush in hand, Peggy studied on YouTube and taught herself how to paint. She also took some art classes and painted special artwork for their grandchildren, Emmett and Ava, and their mother, Ali. Now, taking photos of places they visit, which often become subjects of her creations, is fun for her. She enjoys using blues and greens and often paints water scenes and sunsets. Oh…and outhouses. She is famous for them around town and always brings some of those paintings to the market.
Now, they can both be found at the parking lot at Tractor Supply at the local farmer’s market displaying their talents. Steve started showing his wood furniture first, and Peggy decided the display needed some sprucing up. So, she started bringing her paintings as well. Soon Steve began building wooden frames for them as well as easels for their display.
Steve says his 12th-grade shop teacher would be proud of him. He also used YouTube a great deal to learn how to work with wood. At a young age, both his grandfather and father influenced him by allowing him to be around them while they were working. He was afforded many opportunities to try new things.
Peggy’s mother would be thrilled to know she took up where her mom left off with her painting. It’s her way of feeling close to her mom and doing something that reminds her of her every day.
Both Steve and Peggy are happy with their newly acquired skills and are having fun with them. Asked if she misses singing, Peggy says yes, but she does not miss life on the road.
They are both proof that it’s never too late to learn new things and be rewarded by your efforts. They both definitely fit the definition of Busy Living!