The Loretta Lynn Ranch hosted the First Tennessee Motorcycle and Music Revival on September 28 – October 1, 2017. The Loretta Lynn Ranch partnered with promoters Carrie Repp and Buck Shaw to create the first Tennessee Motorcycle and Music Revival, (TMMR). The four-day event’s goal was to be a family-friendly weekend for not only the Lynn family but also for the motorcycle and music families across Tennessee, according to Co-Promoter Carrie Repp. “Guests are saying this was a “class act event” revolving around all things motorcycle, music and camping,” according to the TMMR press release.
The revival took place on the fabulous 400-plus acres of Loretta Lynn’s home in Hurricane Mills, TN, and was a weekend filled with music and motorcycles from all over the country. Revival-goers also took advantage of the festival’s art, food, fishing, horseback riding, kayaking, camping, pig races, swimming, bull riding, vendors, church and the ranch’s walking trails.
Lynn’s family worked with the promoters for months in the planning stages, carefully selecting all the entertainment, vendors and food trucks for the weekend. Staff members from Lynn’s Ranch and TMMR made sure the event was a success by making sure it was family-friendly, well equipped and supplied with a wide range of security. The Ranch began welcoming motorcycles in 1982. Ranch Manager Anthony Brutto, Loretta’s grandson, is keen on making sure the property is used and maintained, just like their grandfather wanted. “
“Papaw was approached by a mutual friend in the 80’s about doing motocross on the land and the two decided that it would be a good business decision,” Brutto stated. “Since the Nationals were on different tracks, they wanted to open the ranch up to offer an even playing field for all racers… If something ever happened, we always had our land to fall back on,” said Brutto.
Family members agree that the ranch needed a way to “take care of itself” and motocross helps fulfill that need. Loretta’s granddaughter, Tayla Lynn is also an artist and told Nashville Music Guide, “This was our first year to host the event and it will become an annual thing at the ranch because it worked so well. So many people felt welcomed and were kind.”
During TMMR, Tennessee artists performed on three different stages, The Waterin’ Hole, Western Town, and Loretta’s Roadhouse, from 11 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. each day. The Waterin’ Hole lies just a few feet away from Hurricane Creek and was designed for singer-songwriters. It has an intimate atmosphere and allows for the audience to truly enjoy the artistry behind each lyric. Tyler Chambers, Taylor Phillips, Marc Oriet, Baker Grissom, Will Bundy, Hayley Stevens, AJ Gatio, Grayson Michael, Kristen Foreman, Madeline McDonald, J Edwards, Sara Jane, Breann Young, Lockhart, Bigg Vinny, Shelly Fairchild, Stephen Cochran, Apollos Crown, Sister Antics, Mountain Sprout and Jared Blake all showcased their songwriting abilities on this stage.
Blake had the chance to share his music at the Waterin’ Hole and is famous for being a finalist on hit television show, The Voice in 2011, ironically, with Blake Shelton’s team. This rocking country artist has six children and is just as passionate about motorcycle riding as he is music. Since his appearance on the show, Blake has maintained a productive career in music and songwriting. “I moved to town to be an artist but through time I wanted to focus on my songwriting and it is where I really began to find my voice,” Blake said. “This event is one of the most well-executed rallies that I have ever seen.”
Revival-goers also visited Western Town, located near Loretta’s Home. They were welcomed by music from Donnie Stickland, Jason Howard, Black Market Salesman, Jessica Bitsura and Ciara Rae. The gift shops, the Coal Miner’s Daughter Museum, Loretta’s studio and the magnificent waterfall were all must-see points of interest, and not too far away.
The main stage, Loretta’s Roadhouse, was located in Honky Tonk Central. Over the four-day event, this stage hosted guest appearances ranging from upcoming artists to major artists, including John Anderson and Loretta Lynn. Other artists that performed were Sneaky Tree, Kasey Tyndall, Andy Velo, Tayla Lynn (granddaughter to Loretta), Ernie Lynn (son of Loretta), Ben Haggard (son of Merle Haggard), The Steel Woods, Tara Thompson, Preston James, Trailer Choir, Keith Anderson, The Kentucky Headhunters, Stone Senate, Ciara Rae, Bishop Gunn, Jared Weeks, Jared Blake, A Thousand Horses, Comedian Steve Trevino, Tim Montana and the Shrednecks, Matt Poss Band and powerhouse vocalist Shelly Fairchild.
Fairchild has spent most of her life making music and wants nothing else but to make a living behind her tambourine and voice instead of a desk. “It was my first time ever to perform at the Loretta Lynn Ranch and I was beyond excited to be there,” Fairchild said, “I love that place so much and it’s so hard to believe that I was up there singing on the same stage built for Loretta…My career has taken some twists and turns and it’s all been very interesting, to say the least…making music has always been my career goal and since I was a little girl, all I ever wanted to be was a singer.”
The final day of TMMR began with Motochurch down at the Waterin’ Hole. Josh Hannah is from the Compassion Network and delivered the sermon. Hannah shared his personal testimony accompanied by scriptures from the Bible to approximately 50 Revival-goers.
According to the Compassion website, “Josh believes that the mission of Compassion is to reach the unchurched, the addict, the poor, and the orphan.” Shelly Fairchild sang “Amazing Grace” and the service was finalized with the testimony of Rhett Rotten, a stunt rider from the
Wall of Death.
The Wall of Death is a motorcycle stunt riding show that was built in 1938 and was one of the many highlights of TMMR. The wall stands 12 feet tall and is 30 feet in diameter. Rotten, began riding with The Wall of Death when he graduated high school in 1994 with the guidance of his school counselor.
“From where I came from to where I am today, is a testimony in itself,” said Rotten. “I have been racing my whole life and am very knowledgeable to old-board track racing. I started in Amateur Motocross and Flat Track with some failed attempts at hill climbing.”
Rotten led the congregation to the barn that showcased classic and customized motorcycles by popular builders. He told them a story as they walked by each stable, viewing beautiful bikes that were fashioned to resemble each motorcycle’s builder. Halfway through the barn, the spectators stopped to view two motorcycles that were “under construction.” The bikes were severely burned and destroyed. Rotten explained, that these bikes symbolized a part his life that was dark but healed through time.
“We’re all under construction,” he said. “Hail to the King, because I found freedom from a prison cell.” Rotten then recited scriptures that touched him and he ended his testimony by stating, “Failure is not your option; Look to things that are ahead; you have yet to see what is coming and its better than all your expectations; Sometimes…you just have to jump. This was Rotten’s first time at The Ranch and he said from the moment he got to the property, “It felt like home.”
Sunday was designed to benefit Mission 22, which is “an organization with the purpose to save veteran lives by joining in the fight against veteran suicide,” according to the TMMR website. The organization generated close to $20,000 in ticket sales, merchandise, and donations over the four-day event.
Mission 22 has been in operation since 2012.
Magnus Johnson, a Green Beret Veteran, is one of its founders and was influenced after a close friend, who helped him transition from being at war, committed suicide, according to Dawdy. Johnson was driven to action, teamed up with co-founder Mike Kissel, and they began doing research about the effects of mental illness, which started Mission 22. Dawdy believes that Johnson felt compelled to his calling because he couldn’t just stand by and do nothing, he had to do something.
“We were honored to be apart of the motorcycle and music event at the ranch,” said Dawdy. “Being at Loretta’s was just amazing because it was totally a different atmosphere from other motorcycle events that I’ve been to.” Veteran suicide is not just a small issue. The problem has become national and not many outlets discuss it.
Loretta’s Roadhouse filled quickly with fans from all over the ranch. The colors were presented by veterans and “The Star-Spangled Banner” was sung by Tayla Lynn and the Coal Miners, (Loretta’s band). “Our family will always stand for our Anthem,” said Tayla Lynn. “It was an emotional moment.”
After six months of recovering from a stroke, Loretta Lynn graced the main stage in a red-embroidered top, black pants, and black boots. With her son and daughters, her grandchildren, her band and some of her closest friends, by her side, Loretta told funny stories about the farm, her kids, and even meeting her husband for the first time. “The first time I saw him in uniform, I told him he looked like a toy soldier,” Loretta said.
As the family joined her on stage, tears began to come across every face both on and off the stage. Loretta’s smile was as big as the sky and her eagerness to perform again for her fans and for the soldiers was close to her heart, according to family members. “Memaw has not performed for six months but she was determined to do this for Mission 22,” said Tayla Lynn. “We’re a military family and we want to bring light to helping our veterans.”
According to Tayla Lynn, Loretta is doing well! “She’s such a fighter and so tough,” she said. “We haven’t seen her all dressed up for the stage in six months and we all started sobbing the second we seen her because we were so proud of her. The beauty of that moment was just emotional.”
Lynn’s family accompanied Loretta in singing, “You Ain’t Woman Enough to Take My Man” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” According to Repp, Loretta was adamant to attend this event because she was the first country artist to go on tour with the USO and perform for the troops. “She is always ready to put on her red lipstick and go out and perform for all of our boys and girls who have served in our military,” said Tayla Lynn.
TMMR will become an annual event in October and for more information; visit www.motorcyclesandmusic.com. Readers can also visit their Facebook page @tnmotorcyclerevival. Any veteran who may need assistance and /or help is encouraged to contact www.Mission22.com.
Story By: Amanda Pruitt