If you were to guess who the top three music artists were, it may be a surprise to find this year’s feature music attraction at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo on the list. The number three music artist with most gold and platinum records behind Elvis Presley (The King) and The Beatles, Texan country legend George Strait rides into to Houston for the last time while on his The Cowboy Rides Away Tour. If you believe that I have some oceanfront property in Arizona. 2_sm

As did Jeremy Lin of Houston Rockets and New York Knicks basketball fame, George Strait made the most of his playing opportunity when he was a fill in due to sickness. After the injury that befell the Knicks which forced them to play then little known backcourt player, Jeremy Lin, Lin went on to have one of the most successful seasons in pro basketball last year. Like Lin, Strait’s meteoric rise to stardom can be attributed to the luck of the draw. Houston Rodeo chairman, Leroy Shafer remembers having to “fly in a replacement act only an hour before and debuting to a crowd of over 30,000 people at the Astrodome in 1983,” when Eddie Rabbitt, the scheduled performer, was sick and couldn’t perform. Strait known for barroom ballads, honky tonk and western swing was a huge hit at the rodeo and he finally had arrived.

Strait’s first single, “Unwound” was a hit in 1981 and he never looked back. His seventh album and most famous song “Ocean Front Property” was released by MCA records in 1987. The record has been ranked as a Top 40 Greatest Country Albums of all time by Country Music Television. In 2000, Strait was named artist of the decade and won a Grammy Award for the album Troubadour which helped him surpassing Conway Twitty’s mark of 68.5 million albums sold.

George Harvey Strait was born May 18,1952 in Poteet, Texas just 20 miles outside of San Antonio. He was raised on a cattle farm by his father after his mother divorced and moved away with his sister. His first band was a rock and roll garage band. Strait eloped with his high school sweetheart and in 1971 enlisted in the US Army. Afterwards he attended Southwest Texas State and began playing lead with a group called Ace In The Hole. After a couple of failed attempts to land a recording contract in Nashville, his wife urged him to give it one more try and it was then that his song “Unwound “ went to number four on the charts and MCA Records signed him.

Strait lost his daughter in a tragic car accident when she was just 13. The boy driving who survived the crash was going to be charged with negligent homicide when Strait intervened and simply said it was an accident. He and his only son George Strait Jr,who goes by Bubba are both members in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and partner in team roping competitions. He and his wife and son live outside San Marcos on a ranch and as per usual declined an interview for this story as he does for most interviews, which has added to this legendary singer songwriter’s mystique.

Strait joins country legends Gene Autry, Brooks & Dunn, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Elvis Presley, Charley Pride and Roy Rogers on the Star Trail of Fame at The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo.