Despite history-making floods in May, the 20th annual Celebrity Softball Challenge on June 7 drew thousands of fans in Nashville, Tenn., and raised more than $120,000 for City of Hope.
|The Oak Ridge Boys sing the national anthem. (Photo by Donn Jones Photography)|
Some of country music’s biggest stars, including Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Joe Nichols and Jason Aldean, stepped up to bat, along with members of the Tennessee Titans football and Nashville Predators hockey teams. The event, which unofficially launched this year’s CMA (Country Music Association) Music Festival, pitted the Grand Ole Opry team, coached by Pete Fisher, vice president and general manager of the Opry, against longtime rivals the After MidNite team.
After MidNite, coached by radio host Blair Garner, ended the Grand Ole Opry’s winning streak by winning 15-10 in extra innings.
During the game, City of Hope patient Nicole Schulz presented the Ambassador of Hope Award to country music artist Vince Gill, who has participated in nearly all of the 20 games played to date. The After MidNite team also surprised Underwood and her fiancé, Mike Fisher, with an impromptu bridal shower.
The event featured presenting media sponsor PEOPLE Country magazine and was sponsored by Humana, KOTEX U from Kimberly-Clark, Flexjet and vitaminwater.
Since the Music and Entertainment Industry launched the Nashville Celebrity Softball Challenge in 1990, the event has raised more than $2 million for City of Hope.