Country Goes Huntin'™ was born of humble beginnings and continues to grow each year because of the humble hearts that contribute to its success. The brainchild of childhood buddies, Sam Klement and Rhett Akins, Country Goes Huntin'™ was designed to bring together two Southern passions-country music and hunting-to make a difference in people's lives.
The premise is simple. Invite the top Hunting Pros and Country singers from around the country to come together in Dothan, Alabama to raise money for people less fortunate. Everyone comes at their own expense and no one is paid for their time or efforts. The Pro-Staffers take the singers on a multi-day Turkey Hunt and at the end of the last day, the country stars perform a benefit concert in which the general public is invited to attend. All the money from the ticket sales, online auctions and proceeds from other items sold are then put into a huge "pot", which is divided among charities.
In the past, dozens of charities benefited, and in 2006 approximately 130,000 was divided among the organizations represented. Some charities were local (Wiregrass Children's Home, Georgia Sheriffs Association) and others were national (Wheelin' Sportsmen, The Arthritis Foundation, and the American Cancer Society.)
When asked about the success of Country Goes Huntin'™, Sam Klement remarked, "It's amazing how big the event's gotten. I am honored to have so many friends in the music and outdoor industry that are willing to give back to the community."
The event has grown substantially each year, and with foresight and additional planning, it will continue to flourish. In 2007 the event moved to the Peanut Festival Fairgrounds.
There is so much more than meets the eye going on behind the scenes in the months leading up to Country Goes Huntin'™. Almost as soon as one year's event ends, organizers begin working on the next year coordinating the celebrities' schedules, not to mention keeping up with the sponsors, donors and special guests is nearly a full time job in itself.
Fortunately it comes together for one of the biggest nights in country entertainment. Rhett Akins sums it up like this, "During Country Goes Huntin'™ all of the schedules and egos go out the door. We come together to help those less fortunate and we just try to remember that it's all for charity. It's so hard to coordinate everyone's schedule and there are bound to be last minute cancellations and additions to the show. But, I just have to put it in God's hands. That way you don't get frustrated, when you remember God's in charge and we're all there to help others."