Trace Adkins had already earned ten Top 20 hits by this time in 2003. He’d had his first No. 1 single, ‘(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing,’ and released four Top 10 albums, as well as a Greatest Hits collection. But chances are, it’s his induction into the Grand Ole Opry that makes Aug. 23 stand out in his mind.
It was on June 14, 2003 when Adkins was officially invited to become a member of the prestigious organization. He was giving what was supposed to be just another Saturday night Opry performance when 4’11″ Little Jimmy Dickenscarried a step-ladder out on stage after he had finished performing his hit single, ‘Then They Do,’ and climbed up so he could look the 6’6″ singer in the eye.
“Mr. Adkins, I hope you’ll accept my humble apology for interrupting,” Dickens said. “I’m just following orders. Our manager, Pete Fisher, asked me to come out here and ask you a very, very serious question. Just how bad would you like to become a member of our Grand Ole Opry family?”
An emotional Adkins removed his hat before hugging Dickens, and replied, “I want it bad.”
“I have a very important date for you to mark down on your calendar. Now don’t forget it,” Dickens continued. “As of Aug. 23, you will become our newest member of our Grand Ole Opry family.”
Adkins’ wife Rhonda, who he proposed to during his debut appearance on the Opry stage in 1996, watched from the sidelines, along with Ricky Skaggs, who had also performed that evening.
The former oil driller, who has been a part of several other Opry inductions, including Toby Keith and Keith Urban, says he still enjoys playing at both the Grand Ole Opry House, and the Ryman stage, where the Opry host their shows during the winter months.
“It’s a special place,” he tells The Boot. “That’s the thing I like: there’s a spirit in the Ryman, it’s almost palpable. I enjoy going there. A little dab will do you in the Ryman, though, then I like to go back to the big house.”
Adkins will play at the Opry Friday night (Aug. 23) to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of his induction. He will be joined by Skaggs, Marty Stuart, Connie Smith and several others. Tickets are still available here.