On The Scene: KEKB Country Club

Kelly Pickler and Jordon Steele

Ronda Crane, Sandy Sutton, Sydney Malone, Lauree Kirkham and Dina Malone

Sherry Hanlon and Trisha Giallanza

Maddie Taylor, Carly Burkhart and Emma Taylor

Jeremy and Maureen Williams

“You really have to want it,” my friend Jordon Steele said to me Friday evening as we went to catch the scene at Major Mortgage Country Jam USA.

Town Square Media was gracious enough to give me Country Jam tickets so I could take photos for the Sentinel, but even with the excellent directions of event coordinator Adam Porter, once you get out there, it’s always a hot and dusty adventure. You really have to want it.

The KEKB Country Club tent was air-conditioned and the people looked reasonably approachable. I decided to shoot from there. When we arrived, the darling Kellie Pickler was conducting her meet-and-greet with the club members.

I found it hard to get anyone to let me take their picture of them getting their picture taken with her, so my friend jumped in there with Kellie. Jordon and Kellie could have been sisters. More like mother-daughter, Jordan insisted. Kellie was as sweet and kind as you would imagine. She was headed for Denver after Country Jam to play at The Grizzly Rose on Saturday night. From there it was back to Nashville.

Looking for locals was somewhat of a challenge. Country Jam draws people from all over the United States. Two young bucks drove all the way from West Virginia just to be there and were extremely pleased with themselves. A group of girls who looked like family proved to be new-found friends. They met on the shuttle from the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel.

Ronda Crane and Sandy Sutton from Spanish Fork, Utah, and Lauree Kirkham from Phoenix were all schoolteacher friends.

Eleven-year-old Sydney Malone from Colorado Springs went to her first Country Jam at age 7. Her mother, Dina Malone, grew up in Montrose as Dina Twomby.

I picked out Sherry Hanlon and Trisha Giallanza next. I knew the Hanlon name and, indeed, Clay Hanlon is Sherry’s father-in-law. She’s married to Colonel Clifton DeBeQue, or as some people know him, Drew Hanlon. Drew was at Strawberry Days in Glenwood Springs, hawking his tasty Bloody Mary mixes.

Trisha’s husband, Chuck Giallanza, is a manager at Swire Coca Cola and he got the ladies their Country Jam tickets. Chuck also is Sherry’s brother, making the two women friends and sisters-in-law.

Jordon and I went outside to look for some interesting prospects. Maddie Taylor, Carly Burkhart and Emma Taylor were more than happy to pose for “On the Scene.” Maddie and Emma are the granddaughters of the late, great Gene Taylor. I was so happy to have caught them. Their father is Tony Taylor, who runs Gene Taylor Sporting Goods in Fruita.

Maddie is a senior at Colorado Mesa University, Carly is a junior at Grand Junction High School and Emma just graduated from CMU. Grandpa Gene would be proud. The girls loved being members of the KEKB Country Club because it was a good place to get out of the heat and have great access to the performers.

Jeremy and Maureen Williams were enjoying their first Country Jam. Jeremy works for Swire Coca Cola and Maureen is an independent contracting accountant.

It was time for me to go. I missed Lady Antebellum, but felt the best place for me was closer to home.

It was a beautiful, last day of spring and we took the back roads home just to see the incredible countryside.

Jordon and I needed a bite to eat so thought we’d try Thunderstruck Valley, the new/old Boomers on Main Street. She’d heard the food was good.

Downtown Grand Junction was packed with people. We made our way into Thunderstruck Valley and were seated on cushy seats on the back west wall, facing the band.

I was a little nervous that the Dead Cowboyz would be too loud for our dining pleasure, but was happily surprised that the sound was turned down enough to enjoy.

Jordon and I shared a jalapeno stuffed burger and a fried green tomato and bacon sandwich. Both were delicious and the service was excellent. It was a memorable Friday night “On the Scene.”


■ Euforquestra is the next act up in the Hear It Through The Grapevine Concert Series on Saturday at Grande River Vineyards, 787 Elberta Ave., in Palisade. The gates open 6:30 p.m. with the show starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets cost $20 in advance, $25 at the gate. Proceeds from the concert go to KAFM Community Radio. Bring a chair and a picnic. Food and beverages will be available to purchase and no outside beverages will be permitted. Info: 464-5867.

■ Grand Valley artist Dave Davis will have a grand opening for the Davis Gallery and Studio from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at 619 33 Road. Info: 216-6102.


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