While posting my baby photos as my #ThrowbackThursday images are always fun I very seldom get blog post ideas from them. Although I get to prove to people that at one time I was semi-cute I have started to prefer posting throwbacks that aren’t over two weeks old. Why? Because I can follow it up with a post! When I featured a photo of myself with gnarly long hair in high school I received such a strong reaction that I decided to write about it. In turn, that blog post received numerous views and many more jokes at my expense.
Today I posted an even more recent photo of myself with country music star Dierks Bentley. Taken two years ago (yes, I think that qualifies as a throwback) it showed the both of us during a meet-and-greet session prior to his show in Missoula. As that photo garnered more than normal comments and likes an idea came to mind.
I am a huge country music fan. Because of my love of this genre I have attended a great deal of concerts over the past several years. At some of these shows I have even had the opportunity to meet some of the performers I listen to on the radio every single day. For tonight’s blog post I want to feature the five country entertainers I have recently met and rank them according to how genuine and nice they were. Let’s go!
5. Sunny Sweeney – The first question I can already hear all of you asking: “Who is Sunny Sweeney?” Well back in 2011 she looked to be a promising country female singer on the rise. So promising that Reba Mcentire made her an opening act on her tour. In August of 2011 my brother and I attended Reba’s show at Northern Quest, a large resort in Airway Heights, Washington. The concert venue is outside in a large grassy area. Sunny completed her set and then went to her own private tent roped off from everything. When Reba started to play my brother noticed that Sunny had emerged from her tent, crossed over the ropes, and was standing by a souvenir tent. My brother and I immediately went over to where she stood.
By the time we got to the tent a group of about five people had already surrounded her. She started to get visibly nervous. As more people approached she became more distraught and said a couple times that she couldn’t be visible when Reba was on stage. Finally someone from her team came and got her and they walked back to her private tent. Although I have no idea why she strolled over to the souvenir tent in the first place I will always remember her last words before she left: “Thanks hun.” She directed them at me when I told her nice show.
4. Justin Moore – I met Justin Moore in 2011 in Missoula where he opened for Miranda Lambert. My friend Fawn and I had “meet and greet” passes that enabled us to talk with Mr. Moore himself. If you don’t already know, meet and greet sessions can be about as impersonal and artificial as anything you can imagine. With that said, I compliment Justin Moore for at least putting a smile on his face for us. He talked about the elk he shot in Montana that day and how he was going to convince his wife to move to Missoula with him. The thick southern accent and his incredibly short stature are the things I remember most about him. Apparently though he remembers nothing about me! I saw him from the front row at a Blake Shelton concert about four months later and when I yelled at him he looked at me like I was crazy.
3. Dierks Bentley – Now we arrive at the man who inspired this post. After seeing him twice in concert beforehand, I finally got to actually meet Dierks Bentley in April of 2012. Like with Justin Moore it was another meet and greet situation. Even though Justin Moore was nice and gracious I felt that Dierks was just a little more genuine. He introduced himself to me and talked about taking a jeep up the Rattlesnake area in town. He complimented the beauty of Missoula and thanked me for coming out.
2. Toby Keith – I had the pleasure of seeing Toby Keith in concert at the same venue I saw Reba at. He totally rocked the show. At Northern Quest they have a large casino. My boss at the time, my brother, and myself were strolling through it a few hours after the show. At that time, the casino wasn’t too busy as some tables were occupied and others were totally empty. At one of the Three Card Poker tables with players at it I noticed something a little out of place. Two very big men were standing behind another decent sized guy sitting at the center of the table. Yep, you guessed it…Toby Keith.
The three of us went over the table trying to play it cool. My brother bought in and sat down at the table right next to Toby. I watched the action for a little bit before piping up the same way I did with Summer Sweeney by dishing out the “nice show” compliment. When Toby heard the voice he slowly looked around his shoulder, identified me as the person who had called out, and gave me a pound! He also gave my boss a pound too. We enjoyed small talk with Toby as he gambled away and drank Michelobs with his body guards and a couple band members who were also gambling. For someone of that superstar status not to mind getting bothered while gambling after a long show earned him tremendous respect from me.
1. Phil Vassar – Our former athletic director has a couple of big connections in the country music business and those connections led him to develop a friendship with country music star Phil Vassar. The friendship proved strong enough that sometimes Vassar would just randomly appear in the athletic department. I had the chance to meet him once in 2010. The guy was humble as could be. He asked my name, inquired about how I liked working for Grizzly Athletics (I was new), and talked to me about my duties. He didn’t blink an eye when I asked for a picture. He was just so relaxed and kind that it seemed like the fame had never once gotten to him.
Even though I don’t mind posing for a picture with a celebrity I do keep one thing in mind: they are regular people like you and me. Just some of them are better at embracing that reality than others. Don’t Blink