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CHARITY: COUNTRY STYLE

This summer, while most of us sat back in our chaise lounges to soak up the sun, many a country star used their summer vacation for the good of the less fortunate. Whether these stars were at the helm of the project, or the fresh face bringing in the fans, there were dozens of events for country crooners to lend a hand to.

Toby playing at an Ally's House fundraiser

Toby playing at an Ally's House fundraiser

Back in the beginning whispers of summer, Toby Keith made his booming voice heard as he hosted his 6th annual Toby Keith & Friends Golf Classic on June 12th and 13tth . Keith started the weekend with a Denim And Diamonds party on Friday night which included an expansive auction with prizes like a dinner party for you, Toby Keith and 20 of your closest friends, or an Alaskan adventure with Sig Hansen from Deadliest Catch. The event continued on Saturday with a golf tournament. In its six years, the donations, entry fees and bids in Keith’s kick ass auction have halped Toby Keith & friends raise over $2.85 million dollars for Ally’s House, an organization Keith helped establish to financially support families of pediatric cancer patients. Ally’s House was created in memory of the late daughter of Scott Webb, one of Keith’s original band mates. To date, Ally’s House has changed the lives of over 300 families in Oklahoma. Some may think that the economy is suffering, but for Keith, these children’s suffering is something far greater to think of.

Moving into July, Sheryl Crow headlined a charity event for an initiative created by President

Sheryl serenading a crowd

Sheryl serenading a crowd

Obama and Major League Baseball. Crow gave a free show in St. Louis during the All Star game weekend on July 11th . President Obama’s goal is to promote volunteering in your hometown. If each region is helped by local residents, we can improve our nation, one small town at a time. Think nationally, act locally, seems to be an ever present theme in country songs, and this project. Just do what you can, where you can.

Most recently, Halfway to Hazard hosted its 2nd annual Charity Trail Ride. Last weekend, August 22nd and 23rd , H2H orchestrated an ATV ride and charity concert to support Buckhorn Children and Family Center. This year, Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley, Danielle Peck and other country crooners took the Crocketsville, Kentucky stage to kick off this charitable weekend with a concert.

At the end of the Charity Trail Ride '09

At the end of the Charity Trail Ride '09

The celebrity participation continued as Randy Houser, James Otto, Keith Anderson and other rough and tumble stars actually raced in the ATV ride itself the next day. The cause, Buckhorn Children and Family Center, is a nonprofit organization that strives to serve suffering children and families in Oklahoma and Kentucky. This year, the total amount raised exceeded $200,000 dollars in support of Buckhorn. It’s not a surprise, that with all these fun loving singers in attendance, that the event went all the way to hazard.

For a community that is so vocal about their overwhelming graciousness, it is nice to know that country music stars really put their money where their mouth is, truly using their celebrity to give back. Charity is something everyone can have a hand in, some more than others. And, judging by this summer’s immense effort to help those less fortunate, country stars are putting their enormous mitts to good use!