The decision to move the Sports Zone, at the CMA Festival, for 2006, was a good one. It brought it closer to the other events surrounding the festival and eliminated the need for those long walks across the bridge during the heat of the day. Ladies found that this was the way to keep the men interested, and some of those ladies even remained in the area to participate as well. The area is free and open to all festival and non-festival goers to enjoy.
Every year there's a just ton of outdoor fun happening in the CMAfest Sports Zone and some of the past events have included:
Participants lining up at the Major Baseball League trailer to try their hand at batting and pitching as well as the latest video game releases. The CMT Trailer was on hand for karaoke as well as for fans to have photos taken with stand-up cut-outs of Kenny Chesney and Keith Urban! Ranger Boats had folks on hand to show you the latest in their line. Even the U.S. Navy was on hand with flight simulators so fans could test their own skills.
Past favorite, Andy Griggs' Celebrity Archery Tournament This particular year Rusty Tabor proved to be the best shot, taking home the 2006 champion title. This was one of the popular events among fans wanting to get closer to their favorite country artists.
BASS anglers Luke Clausen, Jason Knapp, Jeremiah Kindy, Wesley Strader, George Cochran, David Walker, Clark Wendlandt, and Anthony Gigliardi were on hand for autographs throughout the weekend. Clausen, Walker and Chad Grigsby sat down with FLW Outdoors, host Keith Lebowitz for a modified Question and Answer session in the Zone. Clausen, along with partner and country singer Lila McCann brought home the trophy for the first Craig Morgan FLW Outdoors Anglers and Artist Fishing Tournament. The two brought in a winning weight of nine pounds, seven ounces. The winner was announced following the Riverfront Park festivities on Saturday due to the Sports Zone being closed at the time for weigh-in.
The appearances weren't limited to anglers and country stars, some of the NASCAR Busch Series drivers made the trip to Nashville before their big weekend to sign autographs. Burney Lamar, David Green and Aaron Fike were there to greet the fans. Tony Stewart's show car could even be found in the Zone, but this wasn't the only representation of NASCAR at the CMA Festival. More show cars were parked in the Fun Zone between 1st and 2nd Avenues on Broadway.
The Alvarado Road Show made the first artist appearance, on Thursday, in the Sports Zone on the CMT stage fresh from performing at Steve Wariner's (also the band's producer) fan club party. Later in the weekend, they would get to kick off activities at another sporting event when they were on-hand to sing the National Anthem at the NASCAR Busch Series race at the Nashville Superspeedway and close out the night when they performed a full concert following the race.
Later in the day, Nashville Star 2006 top 4 finalist, Matt Mason had the die-hard country fans packing the parking lot for his renditions of Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash hits. Other artists performing through the weekend included Zona Jones, the Eli Young Band, Sage Keffer, Hometown News, Danni O'Neill, Joni Harms, Greg Hanna, John Stone, Fanny Grace, Natalie Howard, Paulette Carlson, Michael Peterson and MeMarie.
Steve Azar and many champion sports stars came together on Friday to participate in the first Steve Azar Celebrity Sports Challenge presented by On The Run and Exxon. Competing against one another in basketball, hockey skills, golf chipping, football throws and even batting abilities. Azar's Blue Team along with Steve Cole (former NFL linebacker with the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles) and John Daly (Professional Golfer) won the competition with 107 points.
K-9's In Flight made a return trip to Nashville to perform at the CMA Festival. John Misita has performed with his talented group during halftime of the Nashville Kats arena football game in the past and made some fast fans with their daring tricks. One of the canines decided to get even closer to fans when he leapt into the audience, obviously dedicated to catching that frisbee! All of Misita's dogs are either rescued or adopted from the shelter and he was willing to speak with fans regarding their own pets following the demonstrations. Sponsored by Zen Puppy, they were also on hand to speak about their new treats for dogs.
Michael Peterson brought the first New Holland Celebrity Tractor Race to the area along with some of Nashville's finest celebrities. Racing through an obstacle course of orange cones and hay bales against a time clock. Wade Hayes emerged victorious in the end, after a run-off against U.S. Army Captain Bailes, and was presented with the "fancy redneck trophy."
Article Written & Submitted by Michelle Durham