The Cowboy Rode Away: George Strait’s Record-Breaking Final Concert

Most country music fans can probably name a George Strait song. They can even tell you where they were and what they were doing when they heard it. The iconic singer, music producer and actor is one of the best-selling artists of all time with more than 100 million records sold and more than a dozen, reaching multi-platinum status.

According to Celebrity Net Worth, Strait is the twelfth best selling artist in U.S. history and was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in the early 2000’s.

Not only is the country crooner making memories in the hearts and minds of millions of fans, in 2014 Strait made another historic mark in his career. In the final concert of his retirement tour, “The Cowboy Rides Away” at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX, Strait performed for nearly 105,000 people – the largest indoor concert ever in North America and breaking a 33-year record previously held by The Rolling Stones in 1981 as reported by CBS Dallas.

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The “King of Country” has a net worth of more than $300 million and while “The Cowboy Rides Away” tour marked his last extensive, world-wide performance tour, he hasn’t exactly stayed away from the spotlight. With many more lyrics up his sleeve, Strait continues to drop hit country albums and recently, found himself back on the stage for select events.

How it All Started

George Harvey Strait Junior Senior grew up on a 2,000-acre cattle ranch in Texas alongside two siblings and while he’s known how to farm and care for the land and animals since youth, his love for music began to blossom as a teen in high school.

A short stint in a teen-led rock n’ roll band along with attending a few country artist concerts in his home state, and Strait fell in love with country music. After a four-year stint in the Army, stationed in Hawaii, Strait went on to college at Southwest Texas State University and graduated with a degree in Agriculture, however, music was never far from his mind.

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In college, Strait became the lead singer in a band called Stoney Ridge, later renamed The Ace in the Hole Band; men that followed Strait’s career success and played alongside him throughout the final tour. In 1981, he landed his first recording contract with MCA, released his first hit, “Unwound” and the rest is history.

The Final Performance

The 2014 final performance in Arlington sums up the rest of Strait’s 30-year career with a larger-than-life show. According to the Dallas Observer, Strait played more than 40 of his 60 number one hits with an epic performance lasting over three hours.

The parking lot was full of hundreds of trailers, tents, RV’s and cowboy hats with more tailgating than the Dallas Cowboys might see in an entire season. Many of those people, didn’t even have tickets, but wanted to be a part of the event that would go down in history.

The show was packed with country music stars including Martina McBride, Jason Aldean, Alan Jackson, Sheryl Crow, Faith Hill, Miranda Lambert, Kenny Chesney, Vince Gill and Eric Church. All of which were on stage for the final three song-encore of “All My Exes Live in Texas”, a cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” and “The Cowboy Rides Away”.

A staunch support of veterans for decades, Strait had partnered in the past with Wrangler Jeans to raise awareness for their National Patriot program. At every show throughout the final tour, Strait partnered with the Wounded Warrior Foundation and gave away a mortgage-free home to a wounded veteran. The final show and home belonged to Army Sgt. Leroy Petry, a Medal of Honor recipient, wounded in combat in Afghanistan.

Up Next for Strait

Though the tour and final performance was one for the history books, Strait was clear on one thing – he wasn’t done with music, just with touring. In 2015, he dropped his “Cold Beer Conversation” album. In 2017, Strait dropped his “Strait Out of the Box: Part 2” album, followed by a 2019 release of “Honkey Tonk Time Machine”.

In 2016, Strait announced a series of shows in Las Vegas which will continue through 2022 and according to The Boot, the icon began adding one-off shows in various locations such as New Orleans, Austin and Kansas City.

In 2021 and 2022, Strait’s calendar shows two Las Vegas shows, two in Austin, one in Minneapolis and one in Houston, beginning in Aug. of this year. If fans missed the ultimate final show those many years ago in Arlington, they might still have a chance to catch the country music star before his hangs up his hat for good.

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Sources: Celebrity Net Worth, CBS Dallas, Dallas Observer, The Boot

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