"When you pull into a rodeo, you know how folks are -- I'm completely at home and the hospitality is so wonderful," said Atkins. Then, the performer sings a blip of his song "These Are My People."
Atkins has performed several rodeos, and even been an opening act for the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. "It's a blast," he said.
This makes him all the more ready to put on a big show in Sikeston as he rounds out the rodeo performances on Saturday, Aug. 13.
"I'm not afraid to get dirty -- I love being outside and outdoors," he said. "One of my many jobs in college was working at a place called Circle K Ranch, where we took care of the horses and would take people on trail rides. To me, just being around horses and the animals, there is a real peacefulness."
Craig Templeton, chairman of the entertainment committee for this year's rodeo, said those qualities of Atkins are what makes the singer a perfect fit for Saturday's high-energy show, typically led by an up-and-coming artist.
"We thought he was a performer that could get the crowd moving, dancing and singing," said Templeton. "He's high-energy, and most everybody knows his music. We think he's really going to put on a great show."
Templeton pointed out that the performer now has two songs "Farmers Daughter" and "Take a Back Road" in the Top 40, with "Take a Back Road" looking to peak in the Top 10 by the time Rodeo comes around.
"I think this is a show that's very likely to sell out," he said.
While ticket sales have been swift for Atkins' performance, Cal Crader, general chairman of this year's Rodeo, noted "there are still plenty of great seats left."
However, he urged those interested in coming out to purchase tickets as soon as possible.
The other three nights of Rodeo have also been selling well. The planned entertainment includes: Big & Rich, Gretchen Wilson and Cowboy Troy on Aug. 10; Craig Morgan on Aug. 11; and Pat Green on Aug. 12.
Tickets are $20 each for bleachers and $30 each for box seats. They may be purchased online through www.sikestonrodeo.com, in person at the box office or by calling 1-800-455-BULL.
For the entire story, see the July 24 edition of the Standard Democrat or click here to log on to the electronic edition.