Saturday was a big day for Country Stampeders. The last time headliner Brad Paisley performed at the largest country music concert in Kansas, he put on an incredible show, and many of those returning for Saturday night's performance were aware of the sort of theatrics he had in store.
However, before he even took stage, there were a few other big name performers in Jerrod Niemann and Blake Shelton. Niemann, who was born in Harper, Kan., but raised in Liberal, Kan., sang a few of his most well-known songs, including "Lover, Lover" and "What Do You Want?" He also sang "Good Ride Cowboy," a tribute song for fallen country singer/rodeo star Chris LeDoux that he co-wrote for Garth Brooks and a few of his funnier, yet lesser-known songs such as "The Buckin' Song" and "For Everclear," a hilarious song about his party days in college. He topped it off with a cover of "Santeria" by Oasis, which was phenomenal.
Brendan Handy gives Rouse Outdoors a thumbs up at the 2011 Country Stampede.
Country Stampede 2011 began on Thursday, June 23, for many country music fans. However, for me it began on Friday.
I made the annual trip to Manhattan, KS, with my best friend from high school Brendan Handy and my mom, who has been taking me to the Stampede each year since my senior year of high school. It's kind of a tradition.
This year's lineup was exciting for me because two musical guests who are well known for their fishing songs (Brad Paisley and Nitty Gritty Dirt Band) would be in attendance. Brad Paisley is one of my all-time favorite musicians, but we had to wait until 9:30 p.m. on Saturday to hear him. Instead, we got a chance to listen to a legendary band Friday in the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, as well as Lady Antebellum, the headliner, and Joe Nichols. We arrived at the Stampede at just around 5 p.m., grabbed a turkey leg and a drink from the concession stands and went to find our seats near the middle of the crowd on the right side. However, before we even got seated, we heard a familiar voice over the videoboard. In front of the entire park, WIBW meteorologist Jeremy Goodwin proposed to his girlfriend Nichole Pemberton, who is sisters with one of my friends from high school. She said "Yes," and the crowd roared in approval. Then the music kicked off.