Cowboy Corner

Cowboy Corner
By Michael W. Stout

Troy Gentry Accused in Hunting Incident

Just a couple days prior to kicking off the Kentucky State Fair, Troy Gentry, half of Montgomery Gentry, was in a Duluth, Minnesota courtroom facing a federal indictment filed against him in a bear-hunting incident in October 2004. Johnny Dorris of Hallmark Direction Co., Montgomery Gentry's management company, has released the following statement: "Since Troy cannot speak for himself, I feel it is important to give you some perspective on this case that has not yet been reported in the media. Troy is accused of conspiring with a professional hunting guide to improperly fill out a hunting tag. To back up this charge, the indictment claims that Troy shot a tamed bear in a cage, then made a video to appear that he did not shoot the bear in a cage, but in the wild. These claims are wildly inaccurate."

Dorris went on to say, "The bear in question was never in a cage or pen; not when it was killed or at anytime prior to that. This wild bear occupied its own habitat (consisting of several acres of woodlands) on a game preserve owned by the co-defendant. Troy shot the bear with a bow and arrow from a tree stand mounted on the private game preserve. Troy did videotape this hunt for his personal use but did not edit it to make it appear anything other than what it was. He did not distribute the video for commercial use or intend to use it to mislead anyone."

These allegations against Gentry are very serious and could result in large fines and possible jail time if convicted. Gentry "has hired the best trial lawyer in the state of Minnesota to represent him in this manner." He is obviously disturbed by these charges, as he is an avid environmentalist and hunter who supports and attempts to abide by gaming laws. "Before he killed the bear, he was told by the bear guide that it was proper and legal to kill that which again was not a tamed bear and was never in a pen or cage. Troy reported the kill to the wildlife authorities and tagged the bear per the guidance of his professional guide."

Gentry's duo partner, Eddie Montgomery, is fully supporting his pal. He says, "I am aware of the situation with Troy and know that he has since pleaded not guilty. I was not involved nor do I know specific details on the situation in question. But this much I do know - in our great country, a person is innocent until proven guilty. Before anyone assumes that Troy is guilty, I feel he has the right to explain himself and feel confident that the truth will then prevail. Till then, Montgomery Gentry will continue doing what we love most - making music for our friends and fans."

Fortunate for Montgomery Gentry fans, Troy and Eddie didn't let this charge and negative publicity slow them down as they returned to their home state of Kentucky for the opening night of the State Fair. The two were ready to party with the less-than-stellar crowd in Freedom Hall on August 17, hitting the stage with early hits "Hillbilly Shoes" and "Daddy Won't Sell the Farm." Their momentum never waned as they rocked through numbers like "Speed," "If You Ever Stop Loving' Me," and "Lonely and Gone," the two trading the spotlight on vocals throughout the evening. Their musical versatility and love for God, family, Jim Beam and our great nation were evident on numbers like their new single, "Some People Change" (the title-track to their new album due to hit stores on October 17) and "Something to Be Proud Of," during which they flaunted an audience member's "Support Our Troops" poster, which Montgomery kissed and Gentry proudly displayed onstage for the remainder of the show. Montgomery Gentry gave the enthusiastic fans exactly what they came for: a foot stompin', butt-kickin' country music party.

Sara Evans to Be Country Belle of the Ball

ABC-Television's Dancing with the Stars ballroom dancing competition has taken television by storm and country music's very own Sara Evans is going to prove to America that she's no country bumpkin with two left feet. Evans will pair up with professional dancer Tony Dovolani, who partnered with Stacey Keibler during last season's contest. She and Dovolani will be one of eleven couples performing Latin and professional ballroom dance routines in the quest for the coveted grand prize trophy, which is voted on by the American public each week. Evans says, "I love to dance. I'm always up for a challenge and this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity." Others celebrities competing this season are: MSNBC newscaster Tucker Carlson, High School Musical actress Monique Coleman, singer Willa Ford, actress Vivica A. Fox, actor Harry Hamlin, former child star Joe Lawrence, actor and television host Mario Lopez, reality star Shanna Moakler, NFL star Emmitt Smith and shock talk show host Jerry Springer.

Sara Evans fans can watch the songstress strut her stuff on Dancing with the Stars beginning September 12 on ABC. Get your fingers ready to call in and vote for her and Dovolani. Each dancing couple will perform on Tuesday nights, with the results show airing each Wednesday night.

Just a few days following her dancing debut, Evans will return to Nashville to host a fundraiser for the Eating Disorders Coalition of Tennessee and the Sara Evans Fund. Not only will she host a fashion show titled "Fashion for Every Body" at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, but she'll also perform. After watching a close friend battle an eating disorder, she became the official ambassador for the National Eating Disorders Association and hopes to help stop this awful dilemma.

Best of luck to Sara on Dancing with the Stars! Go out there and make country music proud!

Toby Keith Hitting the Big Screen

Toby Keith fans will want to run to their favorite movie theater come September 8 when he makes his acting debut alongside Kelly Preston in Broken Bridges. In the movie, Keith plays a country singer who has fallen on hard times and, upon returning to his hometown, discovers he has a 16-year-old daughter whom he has never met.

Keith's involvement in this movie did not strictly involve acting. He contributed seven new tracks for the original motion picture soundtrack, which just so happens to be on his very own recently formed record label, Show Dog Records. Other artists on the soundtrack include Matraca Berg, Fred Eaglesmith, pal Scotty Emerick, Flynville Train, Sonya Isaacs, Willie Nelson, Rushlow Harris, Bebe Winans and Lindsey Haun, who portrays Keith's daughter in the film. This fall fans will have the opportunity to hear Haun perform the first single from the soundtrack, "Broken," as she will join Keith on tour.

Freddy Fender Fighting for Life

Sixty-nine-year-old "Wasted Days and Wasted Nights" and "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" singer Freddy Fender is currently battling for his life. He is resting at home near Corpus Christi, Texas following his doctor's recent discovery of additional cancerous tumors on his lungs. Two tumors were found in January, but recent tests showed an additional nine tumors. Despite the grave discovery, Fender is maintaining a positive attitude. He says, "I feel comfortable in my life. I'm one year away from 70 and I've had a good run. I really believe I'm OK. In my mind and in my heart, I feel OK. I cannot complain that I haven't lived long enough, but I'd like to live longer."

Fender's illustrious career has included three Grammy awards and the 1975 Country Music Association trophy for Single of the Year for "Before the Next Teardrop Falls." He has currently canceled all future concert performances.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Freddy!

Johnny Duncan Passes Away

Singer-songwriter Johnny Duncan died of a heart attack on August 14 while being flown to a Fort Worth, Texas hospital. Earlier that same day, Duncan had sought medical treatment complaining of abdominal pains at his home in Dublin, Texas. The 67-year-old artist is best known for #1 hits "It Couldn't Have Been Any Better," "She Can Put Her Shoes Under My Bed (Anytime)," and "Thinkin' of a Rendezvous." He began recording in New Mexico in 1959, later working as a radio DJ before moving to Nashville in 1964 to pursue a country music career. He was the cousin of country singer Dan Seals and Jim Seals of the duo Seals & Crofts.

Our condolences go out to the Duncan family.

Nashville Going Hollywood

Downtown Nashville is going to go Hollywood in the near future. Well, it's at least going to look a little like Hollywood. Patterned after Hollywood's Walk of Fame, Twang Town is going to have its very own Music City Walk of Fame, it was announced last month. Gibson Guitar, the city of Nashville and Metro Parks are producing this project, which will begin in the park across the street from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. Inductions on the Walk of Fame will be open to singers, songwriters, musicians, producers and music industry executives who have played a "significant role in making Nashville an international music center." A sponsorship fee of $7,500 is required to cover the costs of the creation, installation and maintenance of each brushed steel and terrazzo medallion. Nominations for recipients of a star have already begun.

Vince Gill Helping Out New Orleans

Country crooner Vince Gill is going to head south later this month to help out victims of last year's devastating Hurricane Katrina. As this year's recipient of the Academy of Country Music/The Home Depot Humanitarian Award, Gill had the opportunity to pick any location to have a playground built in his honor. The consummate humanitarian, Gill took this opportunity to help the need in New Orleans and will be on hand September 25 to help volunteers from The Home Depot to help construct a new playground at the International School of Louisiana. He recently said, "Given the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, it is an obvious need for the community."

This playground will be built with the help of KaBOOM!, a non-profit organization that brings communities and businesses together to construct playgrounds.

Congratulations once again to Vince for this honor and hats off to him for his numerous humanitarian efforts!

Well, that's it for yet another month and another summer for that matter. Always remember: "Keep your boots shined up and your hat on straight, `cause country music is comin' your way."