Cowboy boots. They have been on my wish list for as long as I can remember. Nashville has been on it too. And at some point in the last few years, I decided that the country music capital would be the ideal place to buy them. Not only because of the plethora of choices but also in hopes that a memory would be attached to them. And just last week my boots became a reality. And the memory? Better than I ever could have imagined.
It started with a girls’ trip with my daughter, Carolyn. Country music is a genre we both enjoy, so Nashville seemed to be a perfect place for our getaway. Days before we left I researched entertainment options, and the famous Grand Ole Opry appeared on the radar. After digging deeper, I learned that Rascal Flatts was on the schedule, which made it an obvious choice. The history, great music, and one of our favorite artists — score! The show would kick off our trip.
The Grand Ole Opry is a magnificent 4,400-seat capacity auditorium, and it was packed to the brim for the sold-out performance. We made it to our seats a few minutes before the start as MC Juliette entertained the crowd. As I tuned in, she mentioned crowd participation and then threw out an unexpected request, “Do I have any volunteers?” Without a thought, I immediately popped out of my seat and waved my arms. After scanning the crowd, she pointed to me and said, “Lady in the orange dress, come on up!” I looked at Carolyn as I laughed and told her, “I have no idea what I just signed up for, but this should be fun. Take a video!” With that, I took off down the aisle to the front of the stage.
After the second act, I headed to the side of the stage with my escort Dixie and met another volunteer who would be my partner. There we learned about the “Durango Hoedown Throwdown” which is the contest we would be participating in. Our prize? A pair of Durango cowboy boots! Well, you can imagine my excitement as I grew one step closer to obtaining my desired wish list item. I focused on the task at hand and tried not to get too ahead of myself. Our victory would not be a slam dunk — we had merely 18 seconds to catch eight hacky sacks in a cowboy boot. Never mind that thousands of people would be watching. As we refined our skills, Juliette and Dixie shared some tips, “You’ll be further apart on stage so throw it with a higher arc.” With a few successful tosses, we felt confident and ready.
A few minutes later, we climbed the steps onto the Grand Ole Opry stage, and the applause began. The excitement grew as we were introduced and positioned, several feet further away from each other than in practice. Then the clock started: First one missed; next one caught; last three caught. I quickly switched to pitcher, and the crowd’s excitement peaked as they joined in with the countdown. As the last hacky sack landed securely in my partner’s boot, time ran out. We won! High fives, hugs, and waves of gratitude followed as we exited the stage.
Our night at the Grand Ole Opry was indeed grand and resulted not only in a brand new pair of Durango cowboy boots of my choice but in an incredible girls’ trip memory – to boot!