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Country 25/05/2006

Country Music Artists And Professional Athletes Collide In The CMA Music Festival's Free Sports Zone

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NASHVILLE, TN. (CMA Music Festival) - CMA Music Festival is a unique celebration of Country Music and the interaction between fans and their favorite celebrities. The Sports Zone continues that tradition with a variety of friendly competitions between Country Music artists, celebrities and professional athletes, as well as musical performances, displays and more.

CMA Music Festival takes place Thursday-Sunday, June 8-11 in Downtown Nashville. The popular Sports Zone has moved to a new location in 2006, taking residence in the covered parking lot between Third and Fourth Avenues (next to the new Schemmerhorn Symphony Hall and across the street from the Family Zone), although a few select activities will take place in other locations (listed below). The Sports Zone is open from 11:00 AM-5:00 PM during CMA Music Festival. Admission to the Sports Zone is free to the public.

"Where else but CMA Music Festival can you watch your favorite artists display their athletic skills and interact with sports celebrities," said Tammy Genovese, CMA Chief Operating Officer. "Sports Zone is also a great free area for Nashville families to visit and enjoy, providing local fans with unusual opportunities to meet their favorite sports stars."

On Thursday, June 8, the Fifth Annual Andy Griggs Celebrity Archery Tournament, sponsored by RealTree and Yamaha Motor Corp., USA, will be held beginning at 4:30 PM at Lot R on the grounds of The Coliseum. In addition to Griggs, Rhett Akins, Tracy Byrd, Troy Gentry (of Montgomery Gentry), Daniel Lee Martin, John Michael Montgomery, Blake Shelton, Rusty Tabor, Neil Thrasher, Aaron Tippin and Bryan White are confirmed to compete. RealTree's Michael Waddell will emcee the event.

Fans should arrive early to Lot R on the grounds of The Coliseum for the Archery Tournament in order to watch a unique performance. At 4:15 PM, the U.S. Navy Parachute Team "Leap Frogs" will perform a show spotlighting their jumps. The U.S. Navy Parachute Team is a 15-man group comprised entirely of U.S. Navy SEAL and SWCC commandos. Each member comes to the team from a three year tour from one of the two Naval Special Warfare Groups located on the East and West coasts. On completion of the tour, members will return to operational units.

Also on Thursday, some of today's hottest NASCAR Busch Series Drivers will be signing autographs in the Sports Zone from 3:30-5:00 PM. Fans will have the opportunity to meet Aaron Fike, David Green, Burney Lamar and other drivers during this session.

On Friday, June 9, the Steve Azar Celebrity Sports Challenge, presented by On The Run and Exxon, will be held in the Sports Zone from 2:00-4:00 PM. An amazing array of sports champions and celebrities will compete along with Azar in this unique event, including Dave Archer (former NFL quarterback with the Atlanta Falcons and the Miami Dolphins); Terry Ahola (U.S. Olympic Ski Team member); Drew Bennett (NFL wide receiver with the Tennessee Titans); Steve Buerlien (former NFL quarterback with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Carolina Panthers, and current game analyst for the NFL); Luke Clausen (FLW Outdoors professional angler); Steve Cole (former NFL linebacker with the Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles); John Daly (legendary PGA golfer); Jace Everett (Sony BMG recording artist); Craig Hentrich (NFL punter with the Tennessee Titans and two-time Pro-Bowler); Jim Kelly (former NFL quarterback for the Buffalo Bills and NFL Hall of Fame member); Steve Lundquist (two-time U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist in swimming); Jim McMahon (two-time Super Bowl champion and former NFL quarterback with the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers); Pat Perez (PGA Pro Golfer); Gino Torretta (Heisman Trophy Winner with the Miami Hurricanes and former NFL quarterback with the Seattle Seahawks); Gary Valentine (actor on "The King of Queens" show on the CBS Television Network); and Chris Young (Sony BMG recording artist and the 2006 winner of "Nashville Star"). The Tennessee Cheerleading Company will lead the cheers throughout the event. Azar himself assembled this outstanding collection of athletes.

Saturday, June 10, features the Craig Morgan FLW Outdoors Fishing Tournament. Anglers confirmed to participate include Luke Clausen, George Cochran, Anthony Gagliardi, Chad Grigsby, Jason Knapp, Jeremiah Kindy, Larry Nixon, Wesley Strader, David Walker and Clark Wendlandt. These anglers will team with Morgan and other Country Music artists including Jamey Johnson and Lila McCann to fish for the biggest catch on area lakes. The weigh-in will take place at 6:30 PM on the Greased Lightning Daytime Stages at Riverfront Park (which is accessible only by four-day and single day ticket buyers). Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail, Stratos Owners' Tournament Trail, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, and Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series. These circuits offer combined purses exceeding $36.9 million through 241 events in 2006. FLW Outdoors also recently announced the addition of a striped bass circuit, which will debut this summer.
Fans will have the opportunity to meet some of today's top anglers live and in person. They will be signing autographs on Thursday and Friday (June 9-10) in the FLW Outdoors booth.

K-9's in Flight, presented by ZenPuppy, will also be featured on Saturday, June 10, with three performances (11:30 AM-12:30 PM; 1:30-2:30 PM; and 3:30-4:30 PM). John Misita and his amazing K-9's are the premier Frisbee dog entertainers in the world with a show full of cutting edge, high-flying acrobatics. Misita adopted all of his dogs, and their show promotes the importance of pet adoption and healthcare. During the last 10 years, Misita and his dogs have performed in more than 150 cities in North America and have appeared on Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Disney Channel, ESPN, ESPN2, HBO, "Jerry Lewis Telethon," MTV and more.

Sunday, June 11, spotlights the Michael Peterson/New Holland Celebrity Tractor Race from 1:00-3:00 PM. Country Music artists and celebrities will race against the clock through an obstacle course on a New Holland compact tractor. A New Holland Boomer compact tractor will be signed by all participating celebrities and auctioned off at a later date on eBay, with proceeds to be divided between the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and to the winner's charity of choice. Participants include Deborah Allen (Curb recording artist); Bering Strait (Universal South recording group); singer/songwriter Woody Bradshaw; singer/songwriter Bekka Bramlett (former member of both Fleetwood Mac and Bekka & Billy); The Honorable William J Chatfield (Director of Selective Service); actor Alan Dysert; actor Scott Getlin; Craig Hentrich (NFL punter with the Tennessee Titans); Janet Ivey (creator of "Janet's Planets"); Robert K Oermann (noted Country Music historian and journalist, as well as former judge on the USA Network's television series "Nashville Star"); singer/songwriter Bobby Pinson; singer/songwriter Colt Prather; and singer/songwriter Billy Yates.

Throughout the four days, artists will perform on the CMT Stage at the Sports Zone. Among the artists performing this year are the Alvarado Road Show, Paulette Carlson, Eli Young Band, Fanny Grace, Greg Hanna, Joni Harms, Hometown News, Natalie Howard, Zona Jones, Sage Keffer, Matt Mason, Danni O'Neill, Michael Peterson, and John Stone.

The Sports Zone will host many activities and displays throughout the four days of CMA Music Festival. The MLB Road Show is a free interactive baseball experience where fans can test their skills in batting and pitching cages or play the latest baseball video game releases in state-of-the-art gaming stations. While there, sports enthusiasts can also check out the MLB Authentic Collection, the exclusive jerseys, headwear and outerwear identical to what is worn by players on all 30 Major League Baseball clubs. Fans can also test their flight skills in the U.S. Navy flight simulators; get autographs from top anglers and try out the FLW Outdoors boat simulator; sign up for a free test run on the Cumberland River from Ranger Boats; and much more. Additional exhibitors include Bridgestone Firestone; Coyote Ugly; Dave & Busters; Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt; New Holland Tractors; Nicorette Gum; On the Run and Exxon; Sound & Speed; Yamaha Motor Corp.,USA; and ZenPuppy.

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