In some of the interviews about my song, Helluva Cowboy (which was written for the late rodeo legend Lewis Field), I have mentioned how inspiring it is when you meet your heroes in person and they actually act like heroes. That was definitely my experience with Lewis, but there was also another time when one of my all-time, biggest heroes proved to be even cooler than I could have ever imagined he would be.
When I was 16, I got to see Garth Brooks play in Salt Lake City; a few days later I left for a family vacation in Lake Tahoe. One rainy day, there wasn’t much to do. The family (bummed out by the weather) headed into Reno for a little shopping at the mall. I was standing in some store with my dad when my youngest sister came running in, looking all wild eyed and frantic. She saw me and said “Pat! I think Garth Brooks is in the sporting goods store…mom told me to come and get you!”
I was very skeptical at first, but she persisted…”I really think it’s him! Come on!” and she ran out of the store. It clicked in my mind at that point that I had heard on local radio that Garth was playing Reno that weekend, so I ran after my sister towards the sporting goods store. We got back to the register by the shoe section, and right there, paying for a pair of Nike gym shoes, was my idol and hero! My mom casually slipped up next to him and said “Excuse me, but we are all huge fans. We saw you in Salt Lake City last week, and wondered if we could get you to sign some autographs?”
Garth was gracious, kind, and accommodating, and chatted with us while he signed whatever scraps of paper we could dig up. He thanked us for the support and for attending his show in Salt Lake…and made us feel like he genuinely appreciated us. He then left and went on his way, and after a few minutes of excitement and chaos, we realized that a couple of my younger cousins (also huge Garth fans) had missed out on the experience. I grabbed a piece of paper, and took off out into the hallway of the mall to see if I could catch Garth. After some frantic looking, I spotted him walking towards an exit, and ran him down. “Excuse me, Garth?” He turned around, smiled and said…and I kid you not…”Oh, hey Pat! How are you bud?” Garth Brooks had just spoken to me by name, and called me bud! I could not have felt cooler and more important than I did in that moment. He waved me up, with my little sister in tow, and told us to walk with them so he didn’t attract too much attention, and again graciously signed autographs for my cousins while he chatted with me about what we were doing in Reno, and how we had liked the concert in Salt Lake! I was on cloud nine. That was the best day of my life up to that point, and a guy that I had idolized, admired, and even been a little obsessed with, cemented himself forever in my mind as a true hero.
I feel like I learned from the best, the importance of taking the time to show appreciation for those that make it possible to do what you love to do, and the impact you can have on one person just by taking the time to be friendly and kind. Music is magic. It connects people in ways that nothing else can, and I feel genuinely grateful to have the chance to connect with amazing people through the simple songs I write and sing. That being said, I truly and sincerely appreciate each of my fans, and am so grateful for those of you that have joined me in this journey that started on a rainy day long ago.
If you’d like to hear the most recent milestone of that journey, click here to listen to my most recent album, ‘Small Town Scandal’.
Thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter.
God Bless, y’all!