Craig Morgan‘s eighth annual charity event brought together some of the biggest stars in sports and country music in the singer’s hometown of Dickson, Tenn. on Sunday (July 20).
The event kicked off in the morning with a trail ride in nearby Vanleer that included Kevin Windham, Destry Abbott, Fred Andrews, Randy Hawkins, Andrew Short and Larry Ward. Morgan — an avid outdoorsman who hosts a show called ‘Craig Morgan: All Access Outdoors’ on the Outdoor Channel — also joined in, along with fellow country stars Tracy Lawrence andChuck Wicks.
Wicks has previously appeared on Morgan’s show, but this was his first-ever celebrity trail ride.
“This is all new to me,” he tells The Boot. “I’m just happy I’m in one piece. I survived. I followed the professional riders and I kept up. I held my own. Maybe I’ll go get a dirt bike now.”
Later in the evening, Morgan, Lawrence and Wicks performed an open-air show in the round at Dickson’s War Memorial Lawn. The informal performance featured acoustic versions of a long list of hits, including ‘That’s What I Love About Sunday,’ ‘Time Marches On,’ ‘Stealing Cinderella,’ ‘Find Out Who Your Friends Are,’ Jason Aldean‘s ‘I Don’t Do Lonely Well’ (which Wicks co-wrote) and many more.
Morgan also performed a country arrangement of Justin Timberlake’s ‘Drink You Away,’ and all three men participated in a hilarious bit in which they solicited three words from the audience, then used those words to write a new song live right on the spot. Forced to work with “Karen,” “love” and “mayonnaise,” the trio came up with an extremely funny song called ‘Don’t You Put That Mayonnaise on Me.’
The evening’s festivities also included live and silent auctions. Everyone involved, including the performers and riders, participated on a volunteer basis, and all of the money raised will go to benefit the Dickson Country Craig Morgan Foundation.
“My mom and dad taught me, we did a lot of things with the church growing up, and [charity work] is something I got involved in early on in my career,” Lawrence says. “I think it’s good to try to give back to your community. I think it’s important, as a father, to teach my children how to be socially conscious, and it’s always good to help folks who are less fortunate, to do things for other people and give them a foot up in life.”
Morgan has been working diligently for years toward a specific goal. He and his wife, Karen, plan to build a home called Billy’s Place, which will help serve the needs of foster children throughout Middle Tennessee.
“We always start with children,” Morgan states. “My wife and I have been really blessed; we have a house full of kids. And we’ve fostered in this community, and in the process of doing that, we’ve seen the need — for example, we’d be on vacation and Children’s Services would call and say, ‘We have a child that needs a home, can you take them?’ And we’re out of town. And we’d find out later that that child had to sit in that office for hours, waiting for them to try to find a family, and then sometimes they might find a family, and that family can only take care of them for a few hours, or for the day. Then they’d go back, and they’d go through this process until they’re either returned back to the family, or they’re placed in a more permanent foster program.”
Billy’s Place is intended to provide crucial support during that interim period, giving displaced foster children a safe and comfortable environment while authorities work on a permanent arrangement on their behalf.
“We feel confident this year — if we don’t break ground, we’re gonna buy a home and turn it into Billy’s Place,” Morgan shares. “I’m pretty sure we’ll break ground this year.”
For more information, or to donate to Billy’s Place, click here.