Darius Rucker, Montgomery Gentry headline Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo in Sikeston

Thursday, March 26, 2009
Photo provided
Darius Rucker, formerly of Hootie and the Blowfish, will open the rodeo Aug. 5.

SIKESTON, Mo. — A crossover artist, a new face on the country music scene, an established vocal duo and a less established performer will make up the entertainment at the 57th Annual Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo.

"There ought to be something for everybody, even someone who doesn't listen to country music," said Cal Crader, entertainment chairman. He said that it's hard to follow a year with two sold-out nights, but the committee thinks they have high-caliber performers who will generate high — if not sold out — crowds again this year.

The lineup includes Darius Rucker, Billy Currington, duo Montgomery Gentry and Luke Bryan during the Aug. 5-8 event. They were announced during a noon news conference today in conjunction with the Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon.

"I think we have another exciting year," said General Chairman Matt Matthews. "With the new, up-and-coming artists and Darius Rucker, I think it will draw a new, maybe younger crowd to the rodeo."

Rucker, set to take the stage Wednesday of the rodeo, will be familiar to Hootie and The Blowfish fans. The lead singer of the band, which won a Grammy award and has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide, recently crossed over to the country music scene. Rucker's performance will feature hits from the band, as well as Rucker's country album, said Crader.

Although he is new on the country music scene, Rucker has said that he is "dedicated to his country career, and doesn't want to disappoint his fans." He has appeared on the CMA Awards and The Grand Old Opry, as well as lined up an impressive 2009 summer tour.

In September 2008, Rucker released his first country music album "Learn to Live," which has spent 25 weeks on the Billboard Country Album Chart and currently sits at number 4.

The single "It Won't Be Like This For Long," is ranked No. 1 at the Billboard Hot Country songs list. Rucker's first single, "Don't Think I Don't Think About it" quickly rose to the top of the video and music charts, and the third single, "Learn to Live," has recently entered the charts and is already heading to the top.

On Aug. 6, the rodeo will welcome singer Billy Currington. Currington, who entered the Nashville scene in 2003, has hit songs including "I Got a Feelin," the duet "Party for Two," with Shania Twain, "Must Be Doing Something Right" and "Good Directions."

Currington's latest album, "Little Bit of Everything" was released in October 2008. The album has spent 23 weeks on the Billboard Top Country Albums and peaked at No. 2. It's first single, "Don't," has spent 22 weeks on the Billboard Top Country Single list.

Making their third appearance at the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo, the vocal duo Montgomery Gentry is set to perform Aug. 7.

The CMA and ACM award-winning and Grammy nominated duo has performed for nine years and on the way, racked up 26 award nominations, according to Crader. The duo continues to please crowds and earn rave reviews.

Some of the group's top songs include "Roll with Me" 2008 and singles "Back When I Knew It All." The recently released "One in Every Crowd" single is currently rising on the Billboard Top Country Singles chart.

Rounding out the performers will be Luke Bryan, slated to run the Saturday of the rodeo.

Bryan's first album, "I'll Stay Me," was released in August 2007. That album has spent 79 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100 and peaked at No. 2. In 2008, Bryan earned a 2008 nomination for the ACM's Top New Male Vocalist.

Three singles from his debut album "We Rode in Trucks," "Country Man" and "All My Friends Say" spent time near the top of both the video and radio charts over the last year.

A second album, "Spring Break With All My Friends," was released online March 10 and immediately received excellent reviews, said Crader. He added that the debut single, "Sorority Girls," is expected to continue to gain momentum throughout the summer.

Also the final night of rodeo, the Jaycees will recognize breast cancer with "Tough Enough to Wear Pink," said Matthews.

Saturday is a good choice for the night, because "it gives a full week for people to buy the shirts at the rodeo, and it gives us more time to raise money," Matthews continued.

For the first time this year, the Jaycees will auction off a pair of pink riding chaps. More information about that and other TETWP events are available online at www.sikestonrodeo.com.

Jaycees are also pushing people to utilize the Website for ticket sales this year. In a new ticketing system, rodeo attendees can purchase their tickets with a secure, "click and print" format on the Web.

"It's going to make ticket sales available from your home," said Matthews, noting the ticket office will still be staffed.

But Crader said online sales are preferred. "You get your ticket there, then you walk up to the gate with it, swipe it, and go to your seat," he said.

Tickets, which go on sale today, are $18 for bleachers and $25 for box seats. There is a $2 handling fee per order, whether it's purchased online or at the box office.

The box office's toll-free line, 1-800-455-BULL, has also been updated with an automated system, Crader added.

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