Randy Travis performs to a sold-out crowd at Tioga Downs
NICHOLS, N.Y. - Guests were energized as Randy Travis performed one of his greatest songs, Diggin' Up Bones, to a sold-out crowd at Tioga Downs Casino in Nichols, N.Y. on Friday. And as the lyrics moved along, there were no bones about the loyal fan base that Travis has developed throughout the years.
Travis' recent troubles with the law - to include reports of being naked in the road, a driving while intoxicated arrest, assault accusations outside of a church, and his rolled over pickup truck - didn't prevent his loyal fans from taking a gamble that the 25-years and running country superstar would actually appear for the show.
"We were absolutely skeptical about whether he would be here or not," said Judy Baust from Owego, N.Y. "We kept asking ourselves if he will be here," she added about Travis.
John P. Lisak, also of Owego, N.Y., wasn't worried at all about Travis arriving for the show.
"I wasn't worried at all that he'd show," said Lisak as he headed back to his seat from the concession stand. "He's a rebel," he added.
And by 8:15 p.m., with a show scheduled to begin at 8 p.m., guests were starting to chant the country artist's name as the darkened stage remained empty.
But then, approximately one minute later, Tioga Downs' Marketing Director, Linn Redder, came out on the stage and asked the crowd, "How many of you want to see Randy Travis?"
The crowd roared, as a star studded Travis entered the stage to welcome the thousands of fans who awaited. And his performance rivaled that of most country music legends as he sang passionately, some of his greatest hits with lyrics that now parallel the troubles Travis is dealing with in his life today.
Travis' recently reported legal troubles, his divorce in 2010, and pressure from some to postpone his scheduled tour to receive help were poured into each song delivered to the cheering crowd on Friday.
Diane Beam, of Elmira Heights, arrived at the show with her friend, Darlene Seymour, of Erin, N.Y. Beam saw Travis in Binghamton years back with the late Conway Twitty, and noted that she loves his music.
"I'll be listening to some of his LP's when I get home," said Beam.
Seymour quipped about the performance, stating that she came to see what he would do.
"We really just love his music," Beam added.
On stage, Travis told fans that it was his 25th year touring. "It hardly seems possible," said Travis, "as I'm only about 30 years old." He laughed, with the crowd.
But in spite of the controversial news lately on Travis, the one thing that was certain on Friday was that his fans, well, they love him! The show, in spite of speculation, went off without a glitch.
The next event planned at Tioga Downs Casino is the 3rd Annual "Cruisin At The Downs" Car Show, followed by a performance by Jay & The Americans. The show will take place on Sept. 22 at Tioga Downs, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Registration fees, for cars only, is $15; a registration fee of $25 will be for the car, and two tickets to Jay & The Americans who are set to take the stage at 7 p.m.
The first 150 registrants receive a free T-shirt, and the first 400 registrants receive a Dash Plaque. Awards for the top 30 vehicles, plus a "Best In Show" award will be presented. Donate $1 to benefit the Tioga county non-profit organization "Achieve", and be an honorary judge. Judging will take place from noon to 2 p.m., with trophies presented at 3 p.m.
This event is sponsored by Cool 96, Cool 100 and the American Cruisers Car Club. It is an open show, no classes, and all vehicles are welcome. Cars must be on the field by noon to be judged.
For more information, or to download a registration form, visit www.tiogadowns.com.