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Friday, Apr. 29, 2016

Haggard concert to benefit tornado victim

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Feb. 5 tornado that tore through Arkansas brought pain, suffering, tears and months later -- Merle Haggard.

After losing over $600,000 in assets, Steve Wortham of Melbourne called a poker buddy for help and like friends do, his call was answered.

Aug. 1-2 the cattle on Wortham's farm will be joined by country music legend Merle Haggard along with fans and music lovers from all over the area in what Wortham is calling Ozark Throwdown.

"The first night we are going to have local bands. Tactic 86, Crosswind, Forever Young and Friends, David Grimes All-Star Band, Kenny Krider and the Bottom Land Band will perform. It is lots of music for a Friday night," Kensey Wheat, Ozark Throwdown event secretary, said.

The event will support victims and charity organizations as well as help with the losses to the farm itself, Wheat said.

"The tornado that came through destroyed this man's farm and we are going to help out a few tornado victims, but mostly the community of Christ," Wheat said.

Having friends in high places is a benefit when disaster strikes and Wortham has made the connections necessary to bring a name like Haggard to the area.

"Steve is friends with Merle. I know they have been friends for about five years and they play poker together," Wheat said. "He usually goes to his concerts and they play afterwards."

Haggard is no stranger to the area, playing twice at Ozarka College and once at UACCB in Batesville.

Over his career Haggard has logged 40 number one hits, released 70 albums and has been nominated 43 times for the Country Music Awards, with songs such as "Twinkle Twinkle Lucky Start," "Let's Chase Each Other Around The Room," "I Think I'll Stay Here and Drink" and "Mama Tried." Both CMA and the American Country Music Awards have named him Top Male Vocalist and Entertainer of the Year.

Haggard was elected to the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1994, followed by two Grammy awards. The last Grammy in 2006 gave Haggard the Recording Academy's Lifetime Achievement Award.

According to Wheat, Haggard's band, the Strangers, will be joined onstage by George Roselli, who is Bob Dylan's drummer and Reggie Young one of Nashville's most talented guitarists.

Tickets will be $45, which will cover both nights of the event.

Ticket outlets include First National Bank of Izard County, Mark's Pharmacy in Melbourne and Horton's Music in Highland.

For more information or to charge tickets by telephone, call 870-368-3377 or toll free 888-262-4502.

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