'Night in the Country' increases in star power

Last year about this time officials of the Boys & Girls Club of Mason Valley were readying their "Night in the Country" concerts and Mason Valley Onion Festival.

Only the "Night in the Country" survived.

Organizer Travis Crowder has said the group lacked the manpower to put on both events. Crowds were smaller for the onion festival than the music show and the space at the fairgrounds was needed to accommodate campers.

But he also said the season was wrong for onions.

"In order to do a true onion festival for these amazing onions they grow out here, we'd have to do it in the fall," he said. "We did it for three years with Walla Walla onions. Our onions are still in the ground."

So the "Night in the Country" concerts won the day, and this year the event will feature four top acts, plus a 13-year-old yodeler.

Country music stars Collin Raye, Chris Cagle, Billy Ray Cyrus and Clay Walker will be joined by 13-year-old Taylor Ware, who will perform today.

Taylor learned to yodel at age 7, according to her Web site, and calls her fans "the Yodel Patrol." She won the Yahoo! Yodel Challenge National Championship at age 9 and has performed twice at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville.

"All of them have been fantastic to deal with," Crowder said.

With the economic troubles folks are facing this year, Crowder realized the concert might be a sacrifice, but said four top artists for $50 was a pretty good deal. Elsewhere, ticket prices for just one of those artists are about the same.

Crowder said none of the stars would be affordable for the event if not for the sponsors' generosity.

He said the star power of the artists selected goes up every year because the sponsors continue to support the event.

"We try to get as many sponsors as we can, so that tickets are straight profit for the Boys & Girls Club," he said.

Many of the sponsors have participated for the entire seven-year run of "Night in the Country," he said.

He also credited residents of the city of Yerington and elsewhere in the region.

"This community has been amazing," he said. "We're one of those lucky Boys & Girls Clubs in a rural community that has done well. They really value their Boys & Girls Club, and their children."

Tickets are available at Scolari's supermarkets and on the organization's web site, www.nightinthecountry.org, as are camping passes.

Crowder said the camping is twice as popular as it was last year, where it was limited because of the Onion Festival.

During the day, campers can play golf at the local country club for special rates, or join in a poker tournament that benefits the Josh Farler Helping Hands Foundation.

Crowder said the poker tournament will be at the Ray Foschell building at the fairgrounds, and the money goes toward helping families of seriously ill children pay for transportation and hotel rooms to far-away hospitals.

"Josh Farler died at 20 from testicular cancer," he said.

To join the poker tournament, call Mark at 463-2010 or Willie at 463-4381.

"Night in the Country" is one of only two fundraising drives the club does, but thanks to Casino West's donation of its movie house, the club also makes money showing movies, which will also be active during the day this weekend.

"Hancock" and "Wall-E" will be showing and all proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Club, he said.

Crowder said the movie business is a success for the club.

"In the beginning it was tricky, but now it is going beautifully," he said. "The community is coming and we made it very affordable - $4.50 and $6. And we're not charging $8 for popcorn."

• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at kwoodmansee@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-7351.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: "Night in the Country" concerts

WHEN: 6 p.m., today; 5 p.m. Saturday

WHERE: Lyon County Fairgrounds, 100 Highway 95A South, Yerington

TICKETS: 2-day, $50; today only, $30; Saturday only, $30; free for children up to 3 years old. Available at Scolari's locations or online at www.nightinthecountry.org

CAMPING: $45 for 20-foot-by-50-foot site. $10 for additional vehicles

SCHEDULEToday

7:30 p.m. - Taylor Ware

8 p.m. - Collin Raye

9 p.m. - Billy Ray Cyrus

Saturday

7 p.m. - Chris Cagle

8 p.m. - Clay Walker

POKER

To join the Josh Farler Poker Tournament, call Mark at 463-2010 or Willie at 463-4381.

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