Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

June 27, 2013

MARK MAYNARD: Band brings back the past

ASHLAND — When Summer Motion officials announced Sawyer Brown as the act for the Fourth of July, I had to grin.

Not necessarily because I’m that big a fan of Sawyer Brown, although I like their music. It wasn’t that long ago that Sawyer Brown was considered the “it” band of country music.

The year was 1992 and Sawyer Brown was rocking the country charts at the time — and that’s where my story begins.

My family was part of a large church group that went to Gatlinburg for a family retreat. We stayed in some rustic cabins (well, at least some of us did) and had a big time. It was fun fellowshipping with each other especially since my wife and I won a coin toss with Greg and Cindy Jackson over the bedroom whose bed didn’t aim downhill. The Jacksons and Maynard families were bunk-mates for the week and that’s a far different and even more hilarious story!

But I digress.

We did most things as a group, including a visit to the “Dixie Stampede” in Pigeon Forge. If you’ve never been, I highly recommend it. What happens at the “Stampede” is loads of fun and it doesn’t have to stay at the “Stampede.” There’s a rodeo going on in the middle of an arena that’s essentially lined with picnic tables.

You are either North or South depending on where you sit. They serve only food that you can eat with your hands — bread, corn on the cob, and chicken were part of the menu if I remember correctly.

Throughout the night there is rodeo competition going on inside the arena for your entertainment. Sometimes the South would win and sometimes the North would win. They actually had a scoreboard.

After a night of cutting up with our waiter, he pulled me aside and asked if I’d like to throw horseshoes for the South.

My response: “I’m a ringer! Count me in!”

He took me down to the arena area where my counterpart, a gentleman from Indianapolis, and I waited at the gate to go inside. We were instructed to walk out like gunslingers — bowlegged with pistols on our hips. Being the cutups we were (obviously the waiters scout these people out), we were both up to the task. We entered the arena to thunderous (OK that may be a stretch) applause. It really was pretty cool.

We got to the middle of the arena and the announcer asked us our names and where we were from, all those kind of things. Then he said the “Dixie Stampede” doesn’t use ordinary horseshoes, and handed us a couple of toilet lid seats.

He pointed out the stake and it was game on between me and Mr. Indy. He threw first and, as horseshoes sometimes do, it caught on the side and rolled probably 20 feet from the stake. At that point, I knew I was winning. I lobbed my “horseshoe” and it nudged against the stake (OK, maybe it didn’t, but it sure beat Mr. Indy by several feet). I was the winner and the South crowd let me know it!

The arena erupted (OK, our church group erupted) and the announcer grabbed me again. He told me not only had I won for the

South but I’d also won two tickets to the sold-out Sawyer Brown concert the next night in Dollywood.

Honestly and shamefully, I didn’t know that much about them. I didn’t even know Sawyer Brown wasn’t a person. But I reacted with glee anyway and so did our large and noisy church group.

On the way back to our cabin, I told my wife that it’s a shame to win those tickets because we wouldn’t be able to use them. We had activities planned with our church group. I put them in my wallet and tried to remember the cheers.

We went into downtown Gatlinburg the next day and were in a bookstore on the corner. I overheard a couple of young girls talking about how much they would love to see Sawyer Brown but how the concert was sold out.

I went over to them and asked them if they had tickets to the concert, would they go?

They answered affirmatively but their tones quickly changed. “But you can’t get tickets. It’s sold out.”

“That’s true,” I said. “But I happen to have two that I’m going to give you.”

After some squeals of delight, they repeatedly asked me if they were real and, after finally believing me, left that bookstore clutching those tickets like they were winning lottery tickets.

I’m sure that even 20 years later they love telling that story, too.

So I’m looking forward to a week from tonight when my wife and I will finally get to see Sawyer Brown in concert — and we don’t have to drive to Dollywood to do it.

But if that guy from Indianapolis ever wants a “horseshoe” rematch, I’m all in.

MARK MAYNARD can be reached at mmaynard@dailyindepenent.com or (606) 326-2648.


Text Only
Local News
  • School discrimination suit settled

    A former Greenup County schools custodian has settled his federal racial discrimination suit against the school district, but the terms will not be made public.

    July 22, 2014

  • Family trip detour provides military thrill for 10-year-old

    Jeremy Crawford’s idea of a good time is a seat beside his papaw, watching their favorite World War II movies.

    July 22, 2014

  • Highlands marks year of progress

    This time last year, the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center was facing an eviction notice. Now, the museum is celebrating a year’s worth of progress where not only does it have ownership of its Winchester Avenue building, but is seeing an upswing in exhibition attendance.

    July 22, 2014

  • First lady recognizes Morehead

    Kentucky first lady Jane Beshear said Morehead’s achievement in finally reaching Trail Town certification exemplifies the strength and dedication of the small town community during her address Tuesday at the Rowan County Arts Center.

    July 22, 2014

  • Local in brief: 7/23/14

    The inaugual Ride for Autism will be Aug. 23, starting and ending at Callihan’s American Pub & Grill at the Kyova Mall, including a stop at Carter Caves State Resort Park.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723trailtown.jpg First lady recognizes Morehead Trail Town status

    Kentucky first lady Jane Beshear said Morehead’s achievement in finally reaching “Trail Town” certification exemplifies the strength and dedication of the small town community during her address Tuesday at the Rowan County Arts Center.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • McConnell co-sponsors bill to protect correctional officers

    U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell co-sponsored legislation to help protect correctional officers and staff at Federal Bureau of Prison (BOP) facilities.

    July 22, 2014

  • 0723copshots1.JPG Focus on law enforcement

    Members of several local and regional law enforcement agencies hit the streets of downtown Ashland Tuesday armed with digital cameras and assignment sheets as they completed in-service photography instruction through the Department of Criminal Justice.

    July 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • Obama admin. says health subsidies will continue

    A federal appeals court delivered a potentially serious setback to President Barack Obama's health care law Tuesday, imperiling billions of dollars in subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who bought policies.

    July 22, 2014

  • State’s longest trail system turns 35

    The Sheltowee Trace was officially dedicated as part of the National Recreation Trail system in 1979. After 35 years, the trail remains Kentucky’s longest distance trail, estimated at 307 miles.

    July 21, 2014