Country music legend Charley Pride headlines 13th annual Celebrity Classic

Posted by Jayme Blaschke
University News Service
April 27, 2007

Country-western singing legend Charley Pride will be the featured entertainer at the 13th annual Chartwells CenturyTel Texas State University Celebrity Classic opening gala Saturday, May 5 in the LBJ Memorial Student Center.

The dinner, presented by Chartwells, will open the three-day event that runs May 5-7 in San Marcos and at the Onion Creek Club.   An impressive list of actors, sports figures, screenwriters, directors and musicians will participate in this year’s graduate scholarship fundraiser.

Between 1969, when he first hit number one on the singles chart with "All I Have to Offer You (Is Me)" and 1984 when he commanded the top spot again with "Every Heart Should Have One," Pride scored more than 36 number one country singles.  Over the past 30 years, he has remained one of the top 20 best-selling country artists of all-time, with 36 number one singles and more than 70 million records sold.
Last year, the Celebrity Classic raised $115,000 to add to the Graduate College’s endowed scholarship fund.

Graduate College Dean Mike Willoughby, who chairs the Celebrity Classic’s executive committee, reports that more than $600,000 has been raised to date and 30 graduate students have received scholarships since it began.

Willoughby is quick to credit the leadership and generosity provided by name sponsors Chartwells’ General District Manager Charles Blackwell and CenturyTel of San Marcos, Inc.’s John Navarrette, along with presenting sponsors Dan Roy of  Priority Personnel, Leslie Lockett of H-E-B and Mike and Donn Harrelson of Quail Creek Country Club, along with an impressive list of major and other sponsors.

Major sponsors for 2007 include Brown Distributing Company, CenterPoint Energy, FedEx Kinko’s, Hampton Inn and Suites, Holiday Inn Express, IKON Office Solutions, Industrial Asphalt, International Power-Hays, James and Terri Isbell, the Legends Group, Chuck Nash Auto Group, NIKE Factory Store, Onion Creek Club and Subway of San Marcos.  Supporting sponsors are Coca-Cola, Enterprise Texas Pipeline Company, Frost Bank, K-W Construction, McPherson Cellars, Maui Taco, Ki and Wendy Norman, Staples and Wells Fargo Bank.

Serving as chief celebrity recruiter in his new role as Texas State University-San Marcos artist-in-residence is Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient Eugene Lee, a talented writer, director and actor and 1974 Texas State theatre arts graduate.  Assisting with celebrity recruitment is another alumnus, Alan Stepp, a 1978 business graduate who is both a successful entertainer and entrepreneur with his Two Step Productions.  And for the past several years, they have been assisted by entertainer and sleight of hand artist David McGee.

The Saturday night, May 5, dinner and silent auction, presented by Chartwells, is always the gala Classic opening and features a spectacular silent auction, with sports memorabilia and auction items donated by both entertainers and athletes.

Action moves to Quail Creek Country Club in San Marcos at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, May 6, for a golf scramble and tennis tournament, presented by Quail Creek.  Tennis players interested in participating in the tournament should contact Quail Creek tennis pro Mark Gonzales at (512) 353-1664 for more information.

The public is invited to watch the scramble and tennis play.  This year, an outing for celebrities and major sponsors will be held at Aquarena Center Sunday evening, presented by H-E-B.  On Monday, it is off to Onion Creek for a day of golf and fun, presented by Priority Personnel.

Other celebrities expected to participate in the 2007 Celebrity Classic include Marshall and Jamie Allman, Jonathan Banks, Earl Billings, Mike Brown, Wren Brown, Keith Cash, Kerry Cash, Michael Crabtree, Patrika Darbo, Keith David,  Richard Dillard, Leslie Easterbrook, Charlie Frazier, Joel Freeman, Richard Gant, Jerry Giles, Burton “Bubba” Gilliam,  Ron Glass, Austin “Goose” Gonsoulin, Sara Gravrock, Fred Griffith, Dean Irby, Jason Manns, David Marciano, James McDaniel, Sam McMurray, Chris Mulkey, Elizabeth Pena, Jim Pickens Jr., Charley Pride, David Sawyer, Oz Scott, Jim Stienke, Leonard Thomas, Glynn Turman, Basil Wallace, Will Wallace, Duane Whitaker, Dan Wilcox and Ellis “Skeeter” Williams.

To keep up with plans for the 2007 Celebrity Classic, check the website at