INSIDE GEORGE'S WORLD

From high society to Harleys, George and Norma Strait lead a little-known life in their Texas hometown

Story by Bob Paxman

The city of San Antonio buzzes with excitement as it prepares for its annual fun fest, the Far West Rodeo. Folks are especially anxious for one special event, a motorcycle-themed fundraiser that benefits several local children's charities.

Fans rush to the front of the arena when they hear the revved-up, blaring sounds of motorcycles headed their way. And right in the middle of the pack, perched on a shiny new Harley - is George Strait!

Yes, that George Strait - the mild-mannered superstar who seems more at home with horses than horsepower. Who knew?

Apparently, the citizens of San Antonio have known for some time. "George is a longtime and active Harley rider," says a reporter for the city's daily newspaper, the Express-News.

The world knows George as a publicity-shy singer who vigorously protects his privacy. Yet in the comfortable surroundings of San Antonio, where he lives, he's practically a man about town!

For example, George's biker buddies - yes, biker buddies! - had no trouble roping him in for a personal appearance at the Harley event.

"When my dad remarried last year," recalls one of the event's organizers, David Peveto, "we all got pretty loose at the reception. The owner of Alamo City Harley-Davidson started ribbing George about not getting involved."

The next day, George called a member of the motorcycle club that started the event and asked if he could help. The club's answer, naturally, was a resounding yes. George served as guest auctioneer for the fundraising portion.

This is the side of George Strait that the public seldom, if ever, sees. George effectively paints a low-key picture of himself as a near recluse who's content to stay on his ranch with wife Norma and son George Jr. (now a student at Texas A&M University).

"I am a very private person," George has often declared. "I always have been."

But back home in San Antonio, it's a different story.

Find out why in the current (2/4/03) "Newsstand Issue" on sale now!

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