By Lauren Chase, Montana Stockgrowers Association
When I think of the Grammy Award-winning country band Big & Rich, I can’t help but sing-shout: “Save a horse, ride a cowboy!” This song is a feel-good, up-beat tune that is recognizable from when the first “dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-dum-daaaa” is sung. I can even remember it being one of the warm-up songs before my high school basketball game.
While this song is what most people associate with Big and Rich, this week, I got to see the band in a new light.
I was on a flight from Las Vegas to Nashville after Ryan and I presented at the Idaho Cattle Association’s Convention and Trade Show. It was my first experience flying Southwest Airlines and was still getting the hang of picking out your own seat. Naturally, only the middle seats were left when I boarded so I nestled between two guys, both jamming out with their expensive-looking headphones.
The man on my left leaned over and started talking to the man on my right, referencing last night’s concert. Intrigued, I asked: “Are you guys in a band?” The man on my left said, “Well, sort of. I’m the drummer for Big & Rich.”
“Oh, that’s cool,” I replied. We talked for a while about the pressures of being a professional musician and frankly, I now have a new-found respect for the music scene. That night in Nashville, he was supposed to learn an entire set-list of songs for a new country singer so he put his headphones on and started practicing his drumming. I then decided to start editing video from the Idaho Cattle Convention. A man across the aisle wearing bell-bottom jeans, a fitted corduroy jacket, a bandana and trucker’s cap that said “Electro Shine” on it leaned over and asked if those guys were being mean to me. I smiled and said, “No, everyone is getting along just fine. We’re all being creative!” He asked what I was working on and I explained that I work for the beef industry in promotions…thinking he would say some nicety and then turn back to his group. But his reply was shocking: “I LOVE CATTLE!”
That sparked further conversation about how his father runs a cattle farm in Virginia and how he loved growing up on the farm. The drummer whispered to me that this man was Kenny, the “Big” of Big & Rich. I felt dumb, but I was excited that I got to meet him!
As the flight went on, I showed him my coffee table book, Big Sky Boots…and he just loved it! We talked more about the cattle industry and how he does charity livestock auctioneering at the local sale barn. Kenny had questions about grazing, nutrition and profitably. It was really refreshing to see someone who travels to many metropolitan cities and interacts with thousands of people, name off many breeds of cattle and be genuinely interested in learning more about the industry.
We de-planed at BNA and as a favor to cattlemen, he let me record the video below. Help me to thank Kenny (catch him on Twitter @BigKennyTV) for supporting America’s farmers and ranchers!