Halfway to Hazard charity event draws 25,000

CROCKETTSVILLE — Just from the looks of things, the Halfway to Hazard Charity Trail Ride and concert might have doubled in size since last year.

The stage was twice as big, the lineup was twice as big, those who saw the crowd from above said it looked twice as big — and the whole thing took two days of partying instead of one.

Organized by homegrown country duo Chad Warrix and David Tolliver — Halfway to Hazard — the now-annual event benefits the Buckhorn Children's Center, a foster care services agency that serves about 600 children and their families. Last year's concert raised $100,000.

"It's a real shot in the arm for us," said Bill Owens, president of the agency.

Big names were a big draw this year: Tim McGraw and Dierks Bentley performed and were made Kentucky Colonels, and Lt. Gov. Daniel Mongiardo announced that the governor had declared Saturday and Sunday "Halfway to Hazard days."

The other big draw were the two local boys who made it big.

Tonya Neace's husband went to high school with Warrix in Jackson, and the Neaces' kids, ages 3 and up, know all the words to all the songs, and they know where Halfway to Hazard comes from.

"It's just a great thing for Eastern Kentucky," Neace said as she danced with her aunt and waited for the concert to begin Saturday.

"It's someone from our hometown making something of themselves," Tonya Neace said.

"... And bringing it back home," said her husband, Eric, finishing the sentence.

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