Country music star Rockie Lynne lived in Coon Rapids for just a short time – only seven or eight years – but still considers himself a native son.
And the city’s fathers seem to agree, presenting him with a “Rockie Lynne Pkwy” street sign during opening act of Lynne’s Aug. 8 concert at Sand Creek Park.
“I love this city, and there’s nothing on this Earth I wouldn’t do for this town,” Lynne said backstage as some 800 fans waited for the concert to begin.
In fact, although he didn’t graduate from Coon Rapids High School, Lynne said he’s “a big fan of the school and all the things they do there. I’m a big, big fan of the Cardinals,” he said.
Before presenting the street sign, Mayor Tim Howe expressed his delight at naming a street after the country singer.
“We’re proud to call him one of our own,” he said, describing Lynne’s dedication to honoring and supporting members of the U.S. military.
“He’s co-founder of Tribute to the Troops. He performed at Tee it up for the Troops last year at Bunker (Bunker Hills Golf Course). He’s just done so much for so many and we’re glad to say he’s one of ours,” said Howe, who often praises Lynne and declared Rockie Lynne Day in Coon Rapids back in the summer of 2009.
Lynne’s loyalty to the troops comes from his experience. After graduating high school in North Carolina, he enlisted in the Army and served three years in the 82nd Airborne at Fort Bragg, N.C.
After leaving the Army, Lynne attended the Guitar Institute of Technology on the GI bill before moving to Myrtle Beach, S.C., where he worked as a musician, then went to Nashville in the early 1990s to be a backup musician.
He’s been working ever since, recording hit songs and reaching the Billboard charts four times.
He has appeared nationally on “Good Morning America, “The Grand Old Opry” and “Fox News.” He’s also visited the troops in Afghanistan, Southwest Asia and the Persian Gulf.
And while the country music singer doesn’t get home often, he said it’s his favorite place to be.
“What a joy it is to come home,” Lynne said. “You can’t be more American than hanging out on a baseball field with all your friends and playing music,” he said and then picked up his guitar and rocked out country style, performing the season’s ninth and final Thursday Nites Live concert.
Before his Aug. 8 performance in Coon Rapids, Lynne was in Salem, Ore., for a three-day Tribute to the Troops motorcycle ride and a concert in Salem.
Coon Rapids’ own country music star will also be performing at the Minnesota State Fair Aug. 27.
Tribute to the Troops
Tribute to the Troops is an organization of volunteers, supporters and participants who have joined together to raise awareness of the sacrifices made by America’s fallen heroes and their families.
As part of that awareness and to express their gratitude, Tribute riders visit the homes of fallen military men and women.
Lynne performed for the Hervas family when Tribute to the Troops visited their Coon Rapids home after U.S. Army Major Tad Hervas died during the Iraq War.
An effort to “support the children of our fallen heroes” has Tribute to the Troops raffling off a custom-painted 2013 Harley Davidson Street Glide motorcycle.
The bike, hand-painted with the theme “Evolution,” is on display at St. Paul Harley Davidson when not at Tribute events, according to the website.
The winner of the raffle will be announced at the concert after Tribute to the Troops’ Sept. 8 ride.
For more information and to purchase $10 raffle tickets, visit TributetotheTroops.org and select “Minnesota chapter events.”
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]