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In a special appearance at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Wednesday (Sept. 26), George Strait declared that the cowboy will be riding away soon, as far as touring goes. But he also emphasized, "I'm not retiring." George announced his plans for his final two-year tour in 2013 and 2014, called The Cowboy Rides Away Tour. Martina McBride is set to join George for the 2013 tour, which kicks off Jan. 18 in Lubbock, Texas. The 2013 tour is scheduled to wrap June 1 in San Antonio.
Before George's announcement, a video was played featuring interviews with stars including Tim McGraw, Taylor Swift, Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton and others. Reba, a frequent tourmate of George's, recalled the parties they would enjoy after one of their tours would wrap up. "Ever see George Strait in a wig?" Reba asked playfully. "It's really funny, really cute." Tim noted that some of the best memories of his career were the years he spent touring with George, while Taylor also shared memories of George's tours.
"It's been a hard decision to make," George told the assembled crowd of media and industry members. "It was tough. I lost sleep. But I think about midway through this tour, I'll realize that, yeah, I did make the right decision." But he quickly added, "I'm not retiring." George noted that he plans to write more and spend some time with his new grandson. He also did not rule out an occasional performance after the 2014 tour closes. "I'm not saying it's the last time I'll ever be on a stage," he said. George will continue to record and release albums. Turning 60 this past year was one factor in his decision to stop touring after 2014, George added. Martina, who has toured several times with George, also took the stage and said, "The fact that he asked me back means the world to me. Being part of this historic tour is truly a career highlight for me."
Dates for the 2014 tour will be announced at a later date.