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Jacees will welcome back rising country star

Friday, August 6, 2004

(Photo)
Jaycees Brian Bradley and Scott Balcer cut a plexiglass for a concession stand at the rodeo.
SIKESTON - "I do remember Sikeston because of the rodeo," rising country music star Chris Cagle said in a phone interview this week. "It's kind of cool because it is one of the first places I actually remember being at and get to come back and perform."

Next Friday, Cagle will again light up the stage at the annual Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo and he said he and his group are excited. "Me and the guys are really looking forward to coming out there and playing," he said, adding he had a great time last year.

And the Jaycees enjoyed having Cagle as well. "He was really friendly, a really nice guy," said Scott Balcer, rodeo entertainment co-chairman. "He put on a fantastic show and was an excellent crowd pleaser."

Unlike most other entertainers, Cagle stayed on the rodeo grounds instead of his bus while equipment was being prepared for the show. According to Balcer, load-in is typically at 8 a.m., where all of the equipment is unloaded. Cagle was on the premises during sound checks and while everything was prepped to be ready for the show.

Once the show was over, Balcer said Cagle still stuck around while they loaded the equipment back on to Cagle's trailer, which lasted until about 3 a.m. "He was really down to earth."

Balcer noted Cagle had mentioned he would like to come to the rodeo. "We knew he was going to get bigger and better," Balcer said. Soon after last year's rodeo, Cagle was booked for the 2004 rodeo.

As the Jaycees predicted, Cagle is quite busy lately. He is currently on tour. In between shows, Cagle has interviews and is also working on new material.

Just last week, he had the opportunity to fly an F-16 with the Air Force Thunderbirds in Wyoming. "It was pretty amazing," he commented.

Cagle enjoys the fast-paced lifestyle, especially now, after spending a few months at the beginning of the year on vocal rest. The experience was miserable for Cagle. "You spend a lifetime dreaming about being able to do something and finally get the opportunity," he said. "When you find out it is in jeopardy, it becomes a pretty scary moment."

During his vocal rest, Cagle said his fans were supportive. "They kept me going," he remarked.

"My audience is blue collar - hard working - America," he said. "A farmer, a nurse, someone in an office building putting in too much time for too little money; a mechanic, an oil rig worker, every housewife figuring out how to make it work ... it's every woman who starves for verbal attention and every guy who doesn't know how to give it to her. If I can fill that gap to build that bridge with this music, then we're doing fine."

Cagle said he identifies with his audience. "I think that the connection is more that fact that I'm not this six foot four, big studly guy," he said. "I'm not on the cover of GQ, I'm a regular guy and I think people root for that, for someone who works hard."

"Just Love Me," a song that Cagle co-wrote for his second album, describes him well . "If anyone ever wanted to know anything about me, I think they could listen to that," he said.

Cagle has two certified gold albums, Chris Cagle and Play it Loud. His chart topping singles include his number one hit "I Breathe In, I Breath Out" and Top 5 "What A Beautiful Day." Cagle also has three Top 10 singles: "I'd Be Lying," "Chicks Dig It" and "Laredo."

In 2002, Cagle was nominated as ACM New Male Vocalist of the Year and received the CMT Flameworthy Award for Breakthrough Video. Cagle also won the CMT Flameworthy Award for Breakthrough Artist of the Year in 2003.

Two songs from Cagle's performance, as well songs by the other performers, will be taped and sent to the Charlie Company of the 1140th Battalion in Iraq. But Cagle wants to do something more meaningful, according to Balcer.

"He wants to say something to the camera and address the troops personally," Balcer said.

Tickets are still available for Cagle's Friday night appearance. For more information, contact the Jaycee Rodeo Ticket Office at (573) 471-7196.