Fans get to meet Willie Nelson

May 12, 1999

Willie NelsonAfter the Willie Nelson & Family concert Sunday evening, 10 people will have a chance to go backstage and meet the "Red Headed Stranger" - Willie Nelson himself.

It wasn't just through luck that they will have this opportunity.

It was through their sheer love for Willie Nelson - and being able to express that in about 100 words - that they earned it.

[cont. from lifestyle]

They were not alone. More than 40 others wanted to meet him, also.

A Herald-Mail committee had a really hard time choosing the winners. The letters were all wonderful expressions of how Willie Nelson has touched each person's life. Thanks to all who participated.

Congratulations to the 10.

- Kate Coleman, Staff Writer

"I think this would be my 'Last Hurrah' at my age. Willie has been my idol since 1972. My room is crammed full of Willie's tapes, [videos], photos and scrapbooks. I play his music all the time. [I] have an alarm CD that wakes me to his music each day. I listen to Willie on my Walkman. I belong to Willie's World Fan Club. [The] last time Willie played here, I threw a cap on the stage, and luckily Herald-Mail was there and took his picture in it. Thanks a lot."


Flo Miles, 77


"In 1975, after hours stuck in a massive traffic jam under the blistering Texas sun, I arrived at Dripping Springs for Willie's 4th of July picnic. Willie's performance was scheduled very late, and, sadly, I had to return to Dallas before it. I also traveled to Houston to see him. Again I had to leave for home before his performance. Again I was disappointed. Ain't it funny how time slips away! Now at age 89, I'm going to try again. And I'd love to meet Willie. Maybe it would make up for those performances I missed years ago."

James W. Estes, 89


"I am Alaina McCurdy. I am 10 years old and attend fifth grade at Paramount Elementary School. My dad and I really like Willie Nelson. My Mom likes him, too, but not as much as me.

Willie Nelson is one of my favorite country music singers. My favorite songs are: "She's a Railroad Lady," "Georgia" and "If You Have Got the Money, I Have the Time." I would really like to meet Willie Nelson. Thank you for your time."

Alaina McCurdy, 10


Editor's note: Alaina will attend with her father, Alan McCurdy.

"I'd like to thank Willie for being kind to my mother. In the early 1970s, we attended his concert in the Hutchins, Texas, high school auditorium. She wanted to go talk to Willie. That made me nervous! What if he didn't want to be bothered by a fan? I watched uneasily as she approached him, praying she wouldn't be hurt. She spoke to him, and my fears melted as his brown eyes crinkled into a warm smile. She died in 1976 and never forgot Willie's friendliness. It meant the world to her then. It still does to me."

Judye Estes, 54


"If it wasn't for Willie, I probably wouldn't be here or have the happy marriage I have now. ... Willie changed my whole life around. I escaped into his songs and music whenever things became too much. He told me in song that it's OK to not fit in and OK to be different. He saved my soul. All I want is the chance to tell him 'thank you' for being my best friend all these years."

Roxanne Naugle, 47


"Many years ago, Willie stole my heart. As a young girl, I thought Willie's rugged cowboy image, simplistic style and mischievous nature made him irresistible. His unique voice struck a chord deep within my heart.

For years now, I have continued to listen to the gravelly voice of the Red Headed Stranger, and my love for him has remained steadfast. He's been with me through the good times and the bad. Over the years, Willie's voice has become a familiar friend. What a thrill it would be to meet the man who stole my heart so many years ago."

Alice D. Federhoof, 43

Greencastle, Pa.

"There are many reasons why I would like the opportunity to meet Willie Nelson. I have enjoyed and admired both his musical talent and his humanitarianism for over 20 years.

Willie's talents as an entertainer are matched by few. When you attend a 'Willie and Family' performance, what you see is what you get. No glitz, no glamour, no costly productions and elaborate set designs; just several hours of nonstop music.

Willie, the humanitarian, is someone to truly admire. Since 1985, his efforts to save family farms, through Farm Aid, have helped thousands of Americans.

Mitzi Hemp, 42


"Listening to country music became a bittersweet healing experience after my Dad died.

When hearing the melodious strains of the earthy artists, loving memories surfaced of a warm, wonderful father who sang to me the songs of his favorite, Willie Nelson.

Willie's sweet strings and serendipity sounds are a respite 'at a time when the world seems to be spinning hopelessly out of control.'

To meet and perhaps be photographed with 'The Red-Headed Stranger' would afford me a fantasy fulfilled.

Willie engenders 'down home-down yonder' America, and his chords are precious to our heart strings. To meet him would surely be 'A Dreamer's Holiday.' "

Linda Mandeville, 53


"Our son Michael is in your audience tonight because all he wanted for his 19th birthday was a ticket to see Willie Nelson in concert. He has just returned home from his freshman year at college and does not know of this contest to meet his favorite recording artist in person. But when we saw the ad in The Herald-Mail, we thought what an incredible birthday surprise it would be for him if he were one of the 10 ticket holders chosen. He has loved Willie Nelson and his music since he was a young boy."

Michael and Susan McGinley


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