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02 August 2003

Excerpt:  Tippin Again Lends His Name To Golf Tournament

By Buddy Pearson
Herald-Citizen Staff

Country music singers such as Aaron Tippin are always being asked to lend their name to some sort of charity event. And even though Tippin himself may not be the biggest philanthropist in the world, he does his fare share of charity fundraising, especially when it's a charity close to home.

So, for the second year in a row, Tippin is helping out a local charity with the Aaron Tippin Golf Classic. The two-day tournament will be held Aug. 9-10 at Ironwood Golf Course with the proceeds going to Project H.E.L.P. and The Upper Cumberland Relative Caregiver Program, administered by the Upper Cumberland Development District (UCDD).

"A lot of folks in the country music business endorse a lot of charities," Tippin told the Herald-Citizen. "I don't think it's that often we get to help out at home."

A native of Travelers Rest, South Carolina, near Greenville, Tippin has made middle Tennessee his home for over eight years now. He and his wife Thea and sons Teddy and Thomas reside in a log home on 300 acres in DeKalb County.

"Home for me is the middle Tennessee area so I think when you get to help out right there, that's the type of contribution you feel good about," Tippin explained. "The next thing you know, you get to see where it's really helped. It's not something out there in some land you never get to see where it goes."

The Aaron Tippin Classic is in its second year of existence. A singer who is used to making hit records, Tippin's golf tournament has also been a hit with Upper Cumberland golfers. This year's tourney is booked solid and has a waiting list. With all this support, Tippin is hoping he can make an appearance at this year's event. He's currently on the west coast in the middle of an extensive U.S. Tour, but he is scheduled to be in Gatlinburg on Sunday, Aug. 10.

"I hope so but I don't know if I can," Tippin said by phone from Bakersfield, California. "I'm not sure where we will be the night before. I keep telling everyone I hate it that I can't be there but I'm certainly going to try.

" When he's not traveling around the country, the country music star who has collected six gold records and one platinum record tries to hit the links whenever there is time.

"I do play golf when I can. It's usually one of those celebrity things," said Tippin. "When me and Thea were dating, that's all we did was play golf. We aren't very good but we like to play."

Tippin also likes the outdoors. An avid deer and turkey hunter, Tippin owns his own outdoors store -- Aaron Tippin Outdoors -- in Smithville. He also takes part in the "Take a Kid Hunting" program where some lucky child between 12 and 18 will get an all-expense paid trip to hunt deer with Tippin on his ranch.

"Outdoor life is very important to me. My kids love the outdoors," Tippin explained. "People always say 'Well, what if your kids don't like hunting?' I tell them they are going to be mighty miserable in that tree stand if they don't.

" Tippin's fans have been anything but miserable since he burst onto the country music scene in 1991 with his gold record "Stand for Something." Since then, he has recorded "Read Between the Lines" and "Call of the Wild" along with such notables as "Lookin' Back at Myself," "Toolbox," "Greatest Hits...And Then Some," "What This Country Needs," "People Like Us," "A December to Remember" and "Stars and Stripes."

"I've been out here almost 15 years, how did that happen? I don't know," said Tippin about his career. "I've never been king. I've never been where Garth Brooks and Alan Jackson are and I feel very lucky to still be out here. I see where some of the guys started out with me on the totem pole and now they are gone. I'm just lucky. I've dodged the right bullet somehow."

Tippin, who is almost as well know for his bulked up physique as he is his twangy singing style, says he hopes to have a new album out in the fall. Tippin, who used to be into body building, also says fans can expect to hear more of his voice than see bulging biceps.

"I still try to stay in shape but I'm an old guy, I'm 45 years old," he said. "I still work out every day but it's more of a maintenance mode, fighting off old age instead of body building."

While Tippin may be feeling old, his dedication to charity in the Upper Cumberland appears to be as fresh as ever.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Herald-Citizen, a division of Cleveland Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved.

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Aug 02, 2003

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