Exclusive Interview—It’s a lot of work, takes a lot of time and, at one point, left Craig Morgan’s voice so strained that he had to get a quick steroid shot to make it through his Saturday night concert. But Craig will be the first to tell you that his 6th annual Charity Motocross Ride, Concert and Sporting Clay Shoot this past weekend outside Nashville is a true labor of love for Craig and the celebrity friends who helped him raise $73,000 dollars during the Aug. 11-12 event. That tally brought the total raised to $250,000, all benefitting the Craig Morgan Charity Fund to help foster children in his native Dickson County and elsewhere in Middle Tennessee. Craig’s ongoing charitable mission is to eventually build and maintain a home called Billy’s Place for temporarily displaced children in Dickson County and to provide lasting funding for the home.
Joining him for Saturday’s exhibition and trail ride were: motocross stars Destry Abbott, Fred Andrews, Cowboy Kenny Bartram, Randy Hawkins, Kevin Windham, and country star Bucky Covington. Later that evening, Darryl Worley and HLN “Morning Express” host and “Brand New Day” singer Robin Meade along with the evening’s emcee, GAC host and TV personality Nan Kelley, performed for a packed house with Craig. The evening’s silent auction was a huge success as a hunting trip with Morgan went for over $6,000.00. Before the Sporting Clay Shoot on Sunday, Craig took some time to chat with Nashville.com about the event, his new single, “More Trucks Than Cars,” and more. Here’s some of what Craig had to say.
Nash: Congratulations on another great charity weekend. I know this weekend includes a lot of your passions—motocross, shooting and music.
Craig: This weekend is my world. The riding, the shooting. But as much as I love these other things—and even my outdoor TV show and the acting that I’ve been doing lately and want to do more of—it all boils down to those songs I love to sing. The instant I step on stage and start singing a song, the gratification I get from doing that and the impact that we can have . . . that’s it.
Nash: And family is obviously the major passion in your life. So, did your wife, Karen, join you in any of the activities this weekend? Does she like to ride or shoot?
Craig: Karen’s more a make sure everybody’s happy kind of person—“Let me get you a drink,” that kind of thing. She doesn’t ride, but she does like the sporting clays and she’s coming in a little later. She was so excited about shooting. Of all the things I do with guns, this is her favorite, and she’s really good at it. But she had surgery on her knee and couldn’t do it this year.
Nash: Does she hunt?
Craig: No, she doesn’t hunt, but she’s more likely to spend time in the hot tub at the lodge, then have a nice dinner with you when you get back. It works out great!
Nash: What’s the status of Billy’s Place? Have you broken ground yet?
Craig: Here’s the status. We’re in the process of establishing a 501c3. Until then, all of the money we’re raising is going in the Craig Morgan Charity Fund. I can’t buy land and start building with the charity fund until we get the 501 established. Until then, we’re helping out the Dickson Child Advocacy Center and Dickson Children’s Services. So there’s immediate benefit. And once the 501 is done, we’ll buy property and break ground. I’ve been frustrated with how long it’s taking, but the more I look at itand the more my wife and I talk about it, we’ve thought, “This is the Lord looking after us.” Because what happens is, a lot of people break ground, then take five years to build because they broke ground before they had the money to finish building. When that sign goes up on the property that says Future Home of Billy’s Place, within 12 months we’ll have kids staying in a home.
Nash: I know how strong your patriotism is, how much you love America and support the troops—and you touch on that in your new song, “More Trucks Than Cars.” Do you make a conscious effort to throttle that back a little and not go so far with it—and maybe also with your views on gun rights and other sometimes hot topics—to avoid rubbing someone the wrong way?
Craig: I do. I do it because I’m worried about offending people. I’ve heard people in our business say, “I don’t care who I piss off.” I’ve heard country singers say, “I don’t care if it pisses them off. It’s the way I feel.” I disagree. I’m not that guy. I don’t want to offend people. I want people to enjoy themselves, enjoy life. And at the end of the day, whether they agree with my hunting and my shooting and my support for gun rights or other passions I have, I respect their opinions and will never try to force mine on them.
Photo Caption: (From left), Kenny Bartram, Fred Andrews, Robin Meade, Craig Morgan, Darryl Worley, Nan Kelley, Andrew DeLong, Kevin Windham