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Country superstar's addition to State Fair lineup stirs fans

By KRISTEN RODERICK

Special to The Hays Daily News

HUTCHINSON -- Get out your "Red Solo Cup" -- Toby Keith is coming to the Kansas State Fair.

The country crooner will perform at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15 as a U.S. Cellular Grandstand Act. Tickets range from $20 to $100.

"This ties in so well to our 100th birthday," said Denny Stoecklein, fair general manager. "This is a big show."

Keith is known for hits such as "Should've Been a Cowboy," "Made in America" and "Red Solo Cup."

He is a three-time BMI Country Songwriter/Artist of the Year and was named the American Country Awards' Artist of the Decade. The Nashville Songwriters Association International also named him songwriter/artist of the decade.

His albums have sold more than 36 million copies.

Along with singing/songwriting, he helps sick children and families with the Toby Keith Foundation in his native Oklahoma.

He also visits American soldiers at forward operating bases in international war zones.

After the Toby Keith concert was announced Wednesday, fans were eager to get tickets.

"We've had a lot of phone calls about our fan club," Stoecklein said. "Anything we've been hearing (about the concert) has been very positive."

Tickets go on sale to Fair Fan Club members starting at 8 a.m. April 15. They go on sale to the general public at 8 a.m. May 11. They can be purchased at the state fair ticket office by calling (800) 362-3247 or visiting www.kansasstatefair.tix.com.

There are still three more acts to be announced for the fair. Stoecklein said the Kansas State Fair Board is finalizing one more night and the last three concerts will be announced together.

One act already announced, the band Kansas, will be inducted into the Kansas Hall of Fame in June.

"It really ties in well for them and us," Stoecklein said. "They're being honored and they kick off the 100th birthday party."

The grandstand lineup includes the following:

* Kansas - 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6. Tickets are $13 and $33;

* Eli Young Band - 7:30 p.m. Sept. 8. Tickets are $28 and $43;

* Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers (with Billy Dean) - 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10. Tickets are $23 and $29;

* Jars of Clay - 7:30 p.m. Sept. 12. Tickets are $15 and $30;

* Toby Keith - 7:30 p.m. Sept. 15. Tickets are $20, $35, $50, $65 and $100.