Trip marks the megastar’s tenth USO tour and the first time an artist has taken an Opry Circle replica around the world to bring a touch of home to troops. Trace Adkins is celebrating the Grand Ole Opry’s 90th anniversary and its rich history with the USO throughout his ten-day, three-country, troop-filled trip abroad. Currently in the Middle East on his tenth USO tour, Adkins is bringing a bit of the Opry tradition to troops and military families with their first 90th Anniversary Circle Throwdown. Throughout his USO tour, Adkins is performing on a replica of the famed six-foot circle of wood which sits center stage at the Grand Ole Opry House. As country artists and fans know, the circle was removed from the stage of the Ryman Auditorium and placed at the Opry House when the world-famous show moved to its permanent location in 1974. Generations of country music greats have performed on the circle’s wooden boards, now Trace is bringing that experience to troops and military families overseas.
In collaboration with the USO, Adkins is also a part of the Opry’s Cause for Applause: “Salute the Troops” activities in May, which will benefit the USO and MusiCorp throughout Military Appreciation Month.
Three days into his ten-day USO tour to the Middle East and Europe, Adkins has visited, entertained and created USO moments for more than 3,000 military personnel. So far, he has visited with and performed for troops at Camp Buehring in Kuwait as well as various bases in Afghanistan – with many more acoustic and big band USO performances still to come.
The USO’s partnership with the country music industry dates as far back as the early 1940’s, when Gene Autry, also known as “The Singing Cowboy,” traveled to the Pacific and toured with a group of USO performers. Following in his footsteps and beginning what is now a long-standing tradition, stars of The Grand Ole Opry began touring with the USO in 1949. Among some of the earlier faces to participate in USO tours were Red Foley, Roy Acuff, Minnie Pearl, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams and Roy Rogers, among countless others.
photo by Cherie Cullen