Lonestar and Friends Get Bowled Over for Charity During CMA Festival Week

Former Bandmate John Rich and Cowboy Troy Make an Appearance

It wasn’t necessarily right down their alley, but the guys of Lonestar made some spare time for one of their favorite charities Monday night (June 6) when they rolled out a bowling party at the Hermitage Lanes in Nashville.

Under the title “Lonestar and Friends Strike Out for the Kids,” the event during the week of the CMA Music Festival raised big bucks and awareness for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

But just because they hosted the party doesn’t necessarily mean the band members claim they know what they’re doing when it comes to bowling.

“I have that special technique where you hold the ball in your hands, and you just roll it down through the middle of your legs like that,” drummer Keech Rainwater says of his style.

“The granny technique,” lead vocalist Richie McDonald chimes in.

“It works for me,” Rainwater replies.

McDonald turns to technology for help.

“There is a little machine — it’s called the ball launcher — that you can use,” McDonald explains. “You just set it on top of that and roll it off. That way you don’t have to bend over.”

Troy Gentry of Montgomery Gentry got some assistance from fellow artist Tracy Lawrence as they threw a few practice balls before the official start.

“I love to get out and play, but I never could get the spin down,” Gentry explains with a laugh. “So I’m pretty much an underhanded bowler, which you’ll see later”

Jamie O’Neal says she was concerned about getting a broken nail when sticking her newly polished fingernails in the bowling ball.

“It’s such a girl thing to say, but really, I just got them done,” she offers. “Why did I get my nails done when I’m about to bowl? What an idiot!”

Former Lonestar bandmate John Rich — now of Big & Rich — was among the other friends who bowled for dollars. Others included Amber Dotson, Cowboy Troy, Billy Dean, Michael Peterson, the Wilkinsons, Aaron Lines, Trick Pony’s Ira Dean and Keith Burns, Diamond Rio guitarist Jimmy Olander and the Tennessee Titans’ Albert Haynesworth.

“You come together for a cause like St. Jude, [and] it’s like people just come out of the woodwork,” McDonald notes.

Fans watched as their favorite stars rolled strikes, spares and gutter balls. Although many of the celebrities didn’t feel bowling was their sport, Lonestar keyboardist Dean Sams was one artist who actually was schooled in bowling. He took a class during his college days but came one pin short of getting the highest grade.

“I had a coach who told me that if I could bowl a 200 that he would give me an A,” Sams says. “And he knew I wouldn’t do it. … I bowled a 199. It came down to the last throw, and I got nine pins instead of all of them. So I got a B.”