George Strait kicked off the 2013 leg of his The Cowboy Rides Away Tour in Lubbock, Texas on Friday, January 18, treating an audience of more than 15,000 to a nearly 100-minute set of just a sample of his biggest hits. Special guest Martina McBride opened the show with a full set of her own, giving fans a show to remember.
Backstage before the concert, a group of VIP fans were treated to a VIP reception in ‘The King’s Tavern.’ Fans were able to mingle amongst traveling memorabilia cases on display as part of “The King’s Exhibit,” which features some of George’s prize possessions, including the jacket he wore as Dusty Chandler in Pure Country and his Country Music Hall of Fame medallion.
Midway through the show, George paused the music to introduce U.S. Marine Corps E-3/Lance Corporal Christopher Allen. Allen was then recognized as the 287th recipient of the Military Warriors Support Foundation’s (MWSF) “Homes 4 Wounded Heroes” program and the first awardee to receive a key directly from George. The presentation was made possible through George’s friend, Lieutenant General Leroy Sisco, U.S. Army.
“Our foundation is thrilled at this opportunity to work with such an incredible patriot as George Strait and with his help we are going to change the lives of the heroes and their families by awarding 100% mortgage-free homes at the next 20 concerts on George’s ‘The Cowboy Rides Away’ finale tour,” Sisco shared.
The Allen family will receive a 1,717 sq. foot home with three bedrooms and two-and-a-half baths as well as a pool and two car-garage in Bakersfield, California. The homes for the program are donated to MWSF through partnerships and, as revealed in Lubbock, one will be awarded to a service member at every stop on The Cowboy Rides Away Tour.
George will also perform on the closing night of this year’s Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo at Reliant Stadium on March 17. When tickets were released to the general public last week, fans snatched up over 77,000 tickets within the first two minutes.
“To say that George Strait is an icon or to say that he is the ‘King of Country Music’ is an understatement when referring to his drawing power at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo,” Leroy Shafer, the show’s VP and COO, said. “I have been involved with marketing rodeo and concerts here since 1973 and this is the hottest show we have put on sale in those 40 years. This is going to shatter all Reliant Stadium attendance records.”
George’s performance at the rodeo will mark his 29th in the show’s 81-year history.