Dolly Parton’s Surprising Connection to John Madden’s Legendary ‘Madden Cruiser’

by Maggie Schneider

Here’s how Dolly Parton’s 1994 tour bus inspired football coach John Madden’s “Madden Cruiser.” The sports legend passed away earlier this week.

There is a surprising connection between country superstar Dolly Parton and football coach, John Madden. Sports fans are sad to hear about Madden’s passing last night on December 28, 2021. While many are remembering the 85-year old Hall of Famer’s NFL career, many are now learning about his unique ties to Dolly Parton.

John Madden avoided flying on airplanes at all costs. In multiple interviews, he claimed that his fear was due to his worsening claustrophobia. Others believe it was because of the 1960 plane crash that killed 22 people. 16 of these passengers were on the California Polytechnic State University football team.

John Madden had to get creative. He needed to travel for his work. Instead of flying, he managed to rent Dolly Parton’s 1994 tour bus for a week. The football coach traveled to Atlanta, Las Vegas, and Philadelphia all in one trip!

It was a smooth ride aboard Dolly Parton’s bus. This led to Madden making a deal with Greyhound to convert one of their buses into a customized vehicle just for him. Thus, the “Madden Cruiser” was born!

The $500,000 renovations gave Madden a private queen-sized bed and multiple television screens. It was comfortable and became famous in its own right. Fans would flock to the bus to take pictures in front of on game days.

Without Dolly’s inspiration, the “Madden Cruiser” would likely not exist! Fans can see Parton’s 1994 tour bus for themselves at her Dollywood Amusement Park.

Dolly Parton’s “Dollywood”

Located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, Dollywood Amusement Park is a fun attraction for the whole family. Parton and her team take great pride in turning the park into a winter wonderland every year.

Running through January 2, 2022, Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas is the park’s favorite time of year. Dollywood turns into a winter wonderland, complete with light shows, fireworks, and parades.

“My hope was that people could come as a family and experience what they fantasize Christmas being,” Parton says. “We all have our personal Christmases, but we also have that thought of what we see on TV or what we read in books of those great old Christmases.”

Dollywood would not be complete without spectacular music performances. From “The Candlelight Carolers,” to “Christmas In The Smokies,” audiences can expect original shows taking the stage.

Pete Owens, Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations, says that the festival “will always be the king for us as far as festivals [go].”

There is still time to catch Dolly Parton’s Dollywood Smoky Mountain Christmas. For more information, go here.