Sparta native ignites laughter at Dolly Parton’s Stampede in Branson

By | July 13, 2018 1:02 pm

Derik Zooashkiyani

Derik Zooashkiyani (Derik Zoo), from Sparta, Tennessee , certainly knows more about comedy than horses, but that didn’t stop him from landing a lead role at Dolly Parton’s Stampede in Branson, Missouri. Zoo’s role at the wildly popular dinner attraction is the show’s comedic sidekick ‘Skeeter.’ This is the 32-year-old’s first season at the Stampede.

“I’m excited to be able to perform in front of hundreds of thousands of people,” said Zoo. “In peak season, I’ll be making about 5,000 people laugh every day. Being the class clown prepared me for this. Thank you White County High for not throwing me out because look where I landed.”

Along with being a headlining stand-up comedian, Teresa Swindell raised her son to be an entertainer. He’s had various roles including ABC/CMT’s Nashville, starred in independent film Bethlehem and Guilt Girl and was the artistic director at Vaudeville Theatre in Chattanooga.

The cast at Dolly Parton’s Stampede enjoys having Zoo around; not only for the laughs but also his positivity and encouragement. Zoo shares an encouraging message on Facebook nearly every day.

While Dolly Parton’s Stampede is also in Pigeon Forge, TN, Zoo invites everyone from the Sparta and surrounding area to come see him perform in Branson.

Dinner shows are performed up to five times daily. Show times and reservations are available by calling (800) 520-5544 or visiting

comments » 1

  1. Comment by Harvey Boyd

    July 17, 2018 at 4:40 am

    Proud of Derik! One of the most talented guys we’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. Do it Zoo!

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