Born in Senath, MO, on November 10, 1921, Onie Wheeler recorded traditional country, bluegrass, and rockabilly (for Sun) in a career that stretched from a small radio show in Missouri all the way to the Grand Ole Opry. He played guitar and harmonica as a child, but never performed professionally until after service in World War II. Beginning in 1945, he worked radio broadcasts in Missouri, Arkansas, Michigan, and Kentucky. Wheeler formed the Ozark Cowboys five years later with Ernest Thompson and brothers A.J. and Doyal Nelson. The Cowboys played clubs in Texas in 1952, and were encouraged to travel to Nashville by Little Jimmy Dickens.