As America's greatest champion of personal freedom, the NRA always draws a crowd to its family-friendly events, but perhaps no act was more befitting than last night's "NRA Presents Toby Keith" concert celebrating our Second Amendment freedom—and our troops—at the KFC Yum! Center Arena. And the date happened to be May 21—Armed Forces Day—as the freedom-loving country music superstar hit the stage for an epic night of live entertainment during the 145th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits, May 20-22.
Following an opening act by country music's Chris Janson, Keith performed countless hits that he has released since his 1993 debut, including patriotic songs such as "American Soldier," "Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue," "Beer for My Horses" and others that resonate with freedom-loving Americans who appreciate that Keith has been touring with the USO to entertain American troops since 2002. In recognition of his extraordinary passion for and support of our troops and their families, by the way, he was presented with the Spirit of the USO Award in 2014 on behalf of the USO and the Academy of Country Music.
Though Keith sang a list of hits too long to mention, including a crowd-pleasing tribute to his friend and fellow Oklahoman, the late Merle Haggard, a few other fan favorites included "Should've Been a Cowboy," How Do You Like Me Now" and "I Wanna Talk About Me." When he got around to "Red Solo Cup," he told the NRA crowd—which included NRA CEO and EVP Wayne LaPierre, NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox and members of the NRA Hunters' Leadership Forum—that upon recording it he was told the song would never be a hit. Seems they were wrong! And as for "As Good As I Once Was," I'd say the enthusiasm in the room indicated he not only was as good as he has ever been—He's even better than he used to be!
As part of Keith's "Interstates & Tailgates" tour, the NRA concert was certainly a marquee event at the 145th NRA Annual Meetings and Exhibits. The NRA convention will have drawn more than 70,000 NRA members, hunters, shooters and gun collectors nationwide for a variety of family-friendly events—all in the name of the Second Amendment and American freedom—to the Kentucky Exposition Center when it closes today at 5 p.m.
THREE THINGS YOU DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT TOBY KEITH:
• In his 1993 debut, Toby Keith's "Should've Been a Cowboy" not only topped the country charts. It was the most played country song of the 1990s.
• Toby Keith has performed more than 300 shows for American troops in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Afghanistan, Cuba, Djibouti, Guam, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan and many points in between.
• Though known professionally as Toby Keith, his last name is Covel.