About that Badge: The heartwarming history of Deputy Lump’s hat

Last Updated:June 26, 2024
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About that Badge: The heartwarming history of Deputy Lump’s hat About that Badge: The heartwarming history of Deputy Lump’s hat
Heart & Soul

Every square inch of Silver Dollar City is a stage for Robert Montgomery as he playfully picks on people throughout the park as Deputy Melvin Lump. At the heart of his heckling, though, is a deep desire to just make people smile.

That journey to spread joy started on a family trip to The City when Robert was a rowdy 9-year-old.

“I remember getting that Sheriff’s badge clipped to my shirt and feeling like a boss the rest of the day.”

Young Robert Montgomery Young Robert Montgomery
Robert Montgomery Young Robert Montgomery Young

That day was the first time his family visited Silver Dollar City from Nebraska during his childhood, but the memories stuck with him. After studying music performance and theater in college, his big dreams brought him back to Branson. He landed his first role in the park’s Living Nativity and earned a spot on the Street Troupe the next season. While developing his character for the Troupe, a flash of nostalgia helped him come up with a costume.

“My mind raced back to how the Sheriff’s badge made me feel when I was little—the confidence it gave me,” he remembers. “I wondered what happened to it and called my mom.”

Robert’s mother is big on making sure memories are kept safe. She has a file cabinet filled with small souvenirs from every family trip. There—in the Silver Dollar City folder— was Robert’s badge, along with Silver Dollar City maps, pictures and brochures.

“I knew that badge belonged right here,” he says as he gestures to the pin’s permanent place on his hat. “I remember thinking I was hot stuff getting it that day, and I just love passing them out to kids at The City each morning. I hope it gives them the same swagger.

Robert Montgomery Hat Robert Montgomery Hat
Robert Montgomery Robert Montgomery

It definitely takes swagger and a confident cast to pull off the Street Troupe’s day-long improv show.

“You just never know what guests will say or do,” he laughs. “You have to be on your game and just roll with the punches.”

During the interview for this story on Town Square, Robert masterfully interrupted the conversation to engage with a guest.

“Darling, let me tell ya! Kids can be a real drag sometimes,” he hollers to a mom pulling two kids in a wagon. The woman laughed, waved, then continued her haul up the hill. His eyes then immediately go to a lady in a black and white striped shirt.

“Hey, mam. When did they let you out of prison?”

Another joke…another smile for the guy who wants nothing more than to bring cheer to visitors.

“This entire park is our playground to make folks laugh and help them create memories worth repeating,” he says. “If I can make one person smile or change their mood from bad to good, then that’s a good ‘show.’”

It’s not all fun and games out there on the street.

“Sometimes, I get to help a lost child find their family or comfort a guest having a really hard time,” he says. “Being out there shoulder to shoulder with our fans is a real gift. I thank God for that every day.”

Robert’s giving spirit doesn’t give up when he’s not at work. He donates platelets at the Community Blood Center of the Ozarks and recently passed 25 gallons in giving.

“I just want to show kindness to everyone no matter where I am,” he beams. “Every single person in the Street Troupe is the same way. They have that same desire to just make people smile.”

Deputy Melvin Lump makes plenty of people smile on his park ‘playground’ but so do Robert’s other characters, The Ghosts of Christmas Past and Future and the Town Crier in “A Dickens Christmas Carol.”

“I love it all,” he smiles as a young guest comes up to hug him. “Who knows, maybe one day I’ll clip a badge on a child who will be Silver Dollar City’s next Deputy.”

Picture of Brandei Clifton

Meet Brandei Clifton

As Public Relations Manager for the Silver Dollar City Company, she is eager to tap into her journalism background to hunt down “heart tugs” to write about—those stories that celebrate…

Full Bio


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