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Superstar Strait turns pitchman in the blazing Texas sun

Story by Larry Holden-Photo by Mike DeHoog

Skillfully maneuvering around a tree, he cuts a straight swath before parking the lawn tractor at the head of a long line of other lawn tractors. He steps off the mower as easily as he dismounts a horse - or as easily as he churns out hit songs, like his current single, "If You Can Do Anything Else."

Glancing at the sun splashing amber streaks across a cinnamon sky, George leans against the front of the Huskee, and speaks.

"So, this spring," he says, "ride strong, cut wide and don't waste dollars - on a Huskee from 14.5 to 23 horsepower. Only from Tractor Supply Company."

"Cut!" the director yells. "That's great, George."

It's the start of three days of shooting Tractor Supply TV commercials starring the charismatic country superstar. By filming George in a variety of outfits and with backgrounds simulating summer, spring, winter and fall, the retailer will have commercials to air in appropriate seasons all year long.

Today's location is the sprawling 630-acre T-Slash-Bar Ranch on the edge of San Antonio, not far from George's own ranch. The production is going smoothly, except those chirping birds are playing havoc with the sound. A crewman fires off several shots from a small-caliber rifle to scare away the feathered noisemakers.

George re-delivers his lines. He nails them again. It's not surprising his skill in front of a camera matches his skill performing onstage. After all, he's a commercial spokesman for some heavy hitters, including Chevy Trucks and Wrangler. And for four years, he's been pitching Tractor Supply on television, radio and in magazines to farmers, ranchers, suburban customers - and country fans.

George confides that hooking up with the Nashville-based company with 300 stores in 28 states was a natural.

"The lifestyle that Tractor Supply sells is my lifestyle," he explains. "Everything in their stores are things I use in my home and out on the ranch. And they really care about every customer who walks in the door. I like that.

"Doing commercials and ads for them was easy right out of the chute," he continues. "Not only do I get to talk about what they've got in each store, I also get to talk about the things I love - horses, ranchin' and team roping. What more could I ask for?"

When folks see a celebrity spokesperson on TV, they might wonder if the star really uses the product. So does George really shop at Tractor Supply?

Read more in August 7th's Country Weekly Issue.