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Rob’s Backstage Encounter with Toby Keith

The shirt Toby Keith signed

Toby Keith’s great performance at the Missouri State Fair made him a lot of big fans Friday night. But he made a fan out of me for a different reason before the show.

I’m very lucky in the fact that I have the opportunity to introduce all the artists who play at the Missouri State Fair’s Pepsi Grandstand. I usually get to meet them backstage, sometimes for just a minute and to take a quick picture, and sometimes I get to hang out and talk with them for quite awhile.

Toby Keith is a huge superstar, so the only way we got to meet him was through a very “assembly line” style meet and greet for the fans. Huntin’ Harry and I went backstage with two listeners who had won Meet and Greet passes from KIX for a photo op with Toby.

As everyone was lined up, one of Toby’s security guys announced that we would all receive a pre-signed photo after our group picture, and that we were not to ask for additional autographs. Now I have no reason for an autograph for myself, but my girlfriend is in the army, she’s been deployed to Afghanistan, and absolutely loves Toby Keith. So I brought one of Toby’s “Made in America” shirts to have him sign for her. He’s famous for his support of our troops, so I figured he wouldn’t mind. Well he didn’t, but his security sure did.

As we went up to meet him, I shook his hand and said “Hey man, I know we’re not supposed to ask for extra autographs, but my girlfriend is in the army, she’s an MP and was deployed in Kandahar, Afghanistan, and absolutely loves you. It would mean the world to her if you could sign this.”

Security immediately FLIPPED OUT on me, yelling “No, no, absolutely not, no autographs!” I thought they were going to rip the shirt out of my hand. However, Toby was really cool about it, signed it, and said, “Of course. I’ll do it for Afghanistan. Tell her I said thank you.” I told him how much I appreciated it, and we took our group picture. I honestly do really appreciate it. He really didn’t have to do that, he wasn’t supposed to actually, but he did, and I can’t even begin to tell you how happy it made my girlfriend, a serving member of our armed forces.

Now here’s the funny thing: the next day I went on Toby Keith’s website to find the picture of Toby, Harry, our two listeners, and myself. It was there, but I was completely cut out of the picture. I have to say, it had to have been on purpose. Every other picture, including ones with larger groups, everyone was in the shot, and you can just tell by the way it’s centered they didn’t want me in it.

I guess it was the security people’s way of getting revenge. It really doesn’t bother me, since I meet a ton of artists and I’m really not the starstruck type, and the important thing is that the listeners got their picture with Toby.

All in all, I just have to say thank you to Toby Keith for being a stand up guy and taking the time to make the day of one of our troops. And to the security/management team: you stay classy.

Toby Keith, two great KIX listeners, Huntin’ Harry, and not Rob.

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