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Toby Keith opens his eyes. He can hear the hum of mowers as groundskeepers tackle the lawn around his home near Moore, Okla. Moments later, glancing out a window, he sees the sunlight bouncing off the cascading waterfall, pool and hot tub. In less than three hours, he'll be leaving his sprawling 160-acre estate for a show at Cincinnati's Riverbend Music Center.
After a quick stop to tie up a few loose business ends in his wood-paneled office with the alligator-skin ceiling, Toby, wife Tricia and his assistant, Mitch DeNeui, who lives on the property, head out the door.
They grab lunch at a restaurant before Toby and Mitch head to Toby's private plane.
Toby's eight-passenger Learjet clears the runway at a nearby airport and banks into a postcard blue sky. The pilot sets a course for Cincinnati, Ohio, some 600 miles to the northeast, as Toby reads newspapers and works the USA Today crossword puzzle.
"I knocked it out in about 10 minutes," he grins. "I love crossword puzzles." During the flight, he and Mitch fine-tune the logistics of this Oct. 7-10 concert run: Cincinnati; Roanoke, Va.; Detroit and Lexington, Ky. Toby will fly from Roanoke to Detroit, but he's riding his bus from Cincinnati to Roanoke and from Detroit to Lexington.
Now in the Eastern time zone, Toby's jet touches down at a small airport near Cincinnati. As he and Mitch climb into a van, Mitch gives Toby the phone number of deejay Ric Larson at WBUL in Lexington, Ky. Toby makes the call and talks with the radio jock about the new Toby Keith Greatest Hits 2 CD. "I always do interviews from the airport to the venue," explains Toby, "which frees up my time when I get to the venue."
- Larry Holden
To read more about Toby's busy schedule , pick up the new Country Weekly on newsstands today!