Alan Jackson Saddles Up for Houston Rodeo

When it comes to big events, it’s hard to top the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. “I’ve played it 21 times,” says Alan. “It’s a different show because it’s not like every concert. After the bull riding at the end, they roll out the stage out in the middle of the dirt and it spins around. You’ve got 50,000 to 60,000 people up there. It’s the biggest rodeo and it’s really neat to be a part of that. They always appreciate the music and I’ve always had a great response. I guess that’s why they keep asking me to come back.”

His schedule doesn’t always give him time to take in the rodeo festivities, but he enjoys it when he can. “I’ve always liked the chuck wagon races,” he says. “It’s where they have those old wagons, and those guys are serious, flying around there like race cars. They crash and a lot of them get hurt and some of them even have gotten killed. It’s a crazy thing.”

Performing at this year’s rodeo on Feb. 27 was special to Alan for a couple of reasons. It gave him a chance to salute our nation’s military, and he had a very special guest in the audience. “My oldest daughter, Mattie, lives down in Austin now. She and some of her friends came to the rodeo,” he says. “It was the first time she’d been there since she was a child and they had a big time. They watched all the events and they liked the ones where the little kids ride the sheep, 'mutton busting' they call it. She went to all the stuff and stayed for my show and had a big time.”

This year Alan performed on Armed Forces Appreciation Day. “I’m a huge patriot,” says Alan, who dedicated “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)” to the military at that night’s show. “I’ve always told people, I flew the flag off my front porch at my house and off the back of my boat long before 9/11 came along. A lot of people put that flag up after 9/11, well I had mine up way before. I didn’t serve in the military, but I have a lot of respect for people who do. They don’t have to and they volunteer to do it. My daddy served in World War II.”

For more on Alan and his new collection of gospel songs, Precious Memories Volume II, pick up the April 1 issue of Country Weekly, on stands March 25.

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