Three top entertainers will be coming to Duncan in February to perform as part of the “Ropin’ A Dream Gala” fundraiser, which will benefit the city hosting the 2012 Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo.
Headlining the concert at the gala is Marty Stuart, who will be sharing the stage with Lorrie Morgan and country music legend Connie Smith. Between them, the dynamic trio have about 124 years of country music performance experience.
The gala will be Friday, Feb. 17, at the Simmons Center, by invitation or private reserve table only. There will be a silent auction of numerous items, including hand-crafted spurs, photography, art and rifles. After the meal and auction, the concert will be held at Stephens County Fair & Expo Center.
SCFEC Director Mike Anderson, who is also co-chair for the Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo committee, said members have been secretly working for weeks to secure top entertainers for the gala, which is to help raise funds for the rodeo in October. Anderson and other organizers feel the event will make Duncan, Stephens County and Southwest Oklahoma prominent in the rodeo world.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “We have some big names coming this way and everyone is working hard to make this gala and the finals a success.”
Securing entertainers like Stuart, Morgan and Smith doesn’t usually happen overnight, but committee members and Landmark Music Productions somehow seemed to work a miracle. Originally, another top entertainer had been selected, but the narrow time frame didn’t work.
“Everyone stayed positive, though, and now we’ve got Marty Stuart coming,” Anderson said.
While Stuart’s name is familiar to fans of country music, his wife Smith is considered a country music legend, standing tall among female artists.
Smith was 23 in August 1964 when she released the song, “Once A Day,” that hit the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles chart. The song topped the chart for eight weeks, which remains the longest a tune by a female country artist has been at No. 1.
In August 2011, Smith released her first album in 15 years, “Long Line of Heartaches.” It’s only her second release since 1978, but it’s the 53rd album produced during her career.
She and Stuart married in 1997.
Stuart, known for his flashy wardrobe and hits such as “Whiskey Ain’t Workin’” (with Travis Tritt) and “Til I Found You,” got his start playing mandolin during a recording session with Lester Flatt’s band. He was 13 at the time. Stuart’s most recent album is “Ghost Train.”
During his career, Stuart has been a member of bands supporting Johnny Cash and Doc Watson. He’s a four-time Grammy award winner and hosted the Grand Ole Opry’s 50th anniversary tribute to Porter Wagoner, in addition to publishing a photography book, “Country Music: The Masters.”
Anderson said the committee could be getting some of Stuart’s photography work for the auction. Some of the funds raised will benefit the Make A Wish Foundation, Anderson noted.
Morgan performed on the Grand Ole Opry stage at age 13, and her first single came out in 1978, about six years later. She has more than 25 singles that reached the Billboard Hot Country chart.
Her first No. 1 single, “Five Minutes,” came out in 1990. Morgan’s latest album, “I Walk Alone,” was released in 2010 .
Anderson said tickets for seats or tables at gala are available. Concert tickets also will be available.
“They just need to call me at the fairgrounds or Joe Henderson or any committee member,” he noted. “We’ll get them the information, because the gala is a special event.
“People don’t have to attend the gala to go to the concert.”
For information, call Anderson at 580-255-3231.