Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dierks Bentley's 10th Annual Miles and Music For Kids: A Weekend of Caring Breaks All Records!

Many people ask us, why do you go see Dierks so many times--haven't you already seen the show? The answer is easy--because it's Dierks! Seeing him 100 times would not be enough.  But last weekend was extra special. His 10th annual Miles and Music For Kids charity motorcycle ride and concert event raised $636,479 for Vanderbilt Children's Hospital--nearly double last year's efforts--and we were fortunate to be a small part of that on Sunday, November 1, 2015!

Every year it's the highlight of our year, no matter how many Dierks shows we attend--this is the BIG one!  The one that gives back and helps so many kids! A DB Congress tradition is to "hold session" at Joe's Crab Shack in downtown Nashville, 'MM4K Eve.'  The gathering is typically about 20-25 DBC reps, but this year we exceeded 50 people--double our usual attendance!  The main event--signing specially-made get well cards for the kids at Vanderbilt Hospital, complete with a DB guitar pick.

DB Congress rep and card signing organizer, David Mattingly (KY) had this to say:

    "[Dierks'] passion for the Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt is remarkable and there is nothing phony about it. Through the years I've met some great friends from all over the country and Canada, too. I can feel their passion to help the children of the hospital when they show up each year to sign get well cards the night before. They come from all over and they could be out on lower Broadway in the honky tonks [not to mention out celebrating Halloween], but they choose to do one small thing to maybe put a smile on a child's face--to put their name and state on a simple "Get Well" card. 

    This year, 51 people from 22 States/Canada showed up to do just that. But the child with the biggest smile wasn't a patient of the hospital......because it was me. I just can't describe how it felt to watch all these people come together and complete this somewhat confusing task. Getting 51 people to sign their name on 250 cards can be challenging. But they came together and got it done. A very fun night and memory sharing was the perfect way to start the weekend. The next day I was honored to present the cards to the President of the hospital. Yes, the President! He smiled as I handed him the box of cards and told me that he knew what they were. He said they look forward to them every year and assured me they would get put to good use. That means so much to us and I want to personally "Thank" all of you who chipped in, in every small way to pull this off." 

Long-time fan clubber and DBC rep for Alabama, Ann Tate replied:
    "This was the most rewarding year to me also. Just losing my friend from brain cancer, I can't imagine a parent having to watch their children suffer from this horrible disease of cancer or like Dalton, heart problems.  What I loved so much was how down to earth Dierks, our president of the fan club, is to all children. I know he was so touched by everyone at the fan club party and the amount of money he raised in one day. To think that everyone donates their time to this function every year just makes me smile. I have a great niece who spent most of her life at the children's hospital in Birmingham, so I know first hand how much strain is on the parents and children."
One rep, Jacinta Hilgeman  (IN),  was hoping to be there but instead stayed home to be with her son who was just diagnosed with a congenital heart defect and had surgery to repair it on Oct 20.  "Although we did not go to Vanderbilt for the surgery, this makes me want to take part in this event even more so now! These hospitals that specialize in caring for kids are so wonderful and make families feel so well taken care of! I now know this from personal experience. I also applaud every single fan club member who took part in this, I know it means the world to those kids and their families! I hope to be right there with you all next year!"

There are many worthy causes that help a lot of people, and we choose to support Dierks year after year because of the person his is, the relationship he has with his fans and his sincere and humble caring heart that keeps on giving.

Proof of that humbleness came after the check presentation on Ascend Amphitheater stage.

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley
He told the crowd he was up for a CMA Male Vocalist of the Year on Wednesday, but that even if he won that, this night 'for the kids' would always mean way more to him.

According to People, "At one point Bentley called daughter Evie over to meet a fan of his who has cerebral palsy and is in a wheelchair.

"Evie [his oldest daugther, 7, born the night before MM4K 2008] is starting to realize there are people who are sick beyond what she may think of as sick and she's starting to ask those bigger questions – we'll talk about cancer and what's chemotherapy and she's starting to think about mortality, really," says Bentley, who adds that he's thinking of taking her with him soon to visit – and sing to – hospital patients. "These are important things for her to see. Probably more important than watching me win a CMA Award.""

Before revealing the total dollars raised, Dierks told the crowd he was hoping to beat last year's $335k, and was guessing it would be around $405k.  He was blown away when the check was turned around.  "That's a damn 6" he yelled incredulously!

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley.  Dierks Bentley points to the check for $636,479

One lady bid and won an autographed guitar for $45,000--she told MC/auctioneer Storme Warren (Sirius XM The Highway), that she was donating the money in honor of her husband who died in a motorcycle accident last Monday.

Photo by Takara Dingley

Earlier that morning, our president found time to treat 350 of his fan club members to a Last Call Ball (fan club party usually held in June), that doubled as a fundraiser for MM4K10. Joined by Fiddlin Dan Hochhalter, bassist Cassady Feasby and lead guitarist Brian Layson, Dierks and the guys delivered an easy going conversation/acoustic jam session.  He explained that drummer Steve Misamore and steel guitarist Tim Sergent were setting up for the evening concert.

Photo credit: Takara Dingley. Brian Layson, Cassady Feasby, Dierks Bentley, Dan Hochhalter help explain the definition of "Sweetkill" on Cassady's shirt as texted to Dan by Steve Misamore

After three songs (Am I The Only One, Free And Easy and 5-1-5-0) and a long explanation of bass player Cassady Feasby's "Sweetkill" shirt (above), Meredith Mauer (SC rep) and I were honored to be able to present to him on stage a gigantic card signed by all who contributed to the "10 year" commemorative gift of aluminum.
Photo Credit: Amanda Morris (MS).  Dierks Bentley, Meredith Mauer, Ronna Clark

Photo Credit: The Country Sip/Vanessa Storm Photography
In case you missed it on our live broadcast on Periscope "We interrupt this broadcast..."

(video credit: Takara Dingley):

We'd like to see if you know what it is first.

A new pair of boots that don't have duct tape?

A hub cap? A motorcycle plate?

The 10th anniversary gift is normally tin or aluminum.

You know it's my 10th anniversary (to wife Cassidy) coming up this year, I had no idea.

No it's not a hub cap--it's a motorcycle derby!

Thank you guys, I'm gonna put it on today when I get down there!

After the presentation, they closed out with I Hold on, Riser, and Drunk On A Plane, followed by a meet and greet with the top 10 fundraisers, and then he was off to the Harley-Davidson of Columbia to start the ride portion of the day!

Sandwiched in between LCB and the concert was the motorcycle ride.  Debbie Hale, DBC rep (IL), was among the 2000+ riders for the cause!

"I have attended this event every year for the past 10 years and was finally able to participate in the motorcycle ride! Dierks leads the pack from Columbia, TN to downtown Nashville and the day concludes with a concert. This year it was at the new Ascend Ampitheatre. Great venue! Everyone together has raised over $3M to benefit the Vanderbilt Monroe Carrell Children's Hospital. Dierks always says it's not him but all of us who participate. His name is just associated with it. Started the day with a short Fan Club Party at the Hard Rock Cafe.  At the dealership. I made a shirt with pix from all 9 M&M events and one of me on my bike for the 10th one. Dierks autographed it!"

Photo Credit: Debbie Hale. Dierks at Harley-Davidson of Columbia

Photo Credit: Debbie Hale. Dierks' bike for the ride - Indian Scout

Bentley's band of brothers are ridiculously talented!  I mean, 5-1-5-0 crazy good!  Not only did they perform in the morning at LCB and then with Dierks to close out the concert, but they were THE back up band for the other artists and they sounded amazing!

The Rolling Stone wrote: "The concert itself was a casual affair, with Bentley's band filling in for the other artist's groups. Each one played three or four songs as Bentley’s band nailed the hooks to Swindell’s "Let Me See Ya Girl," Rhett's "Die a Happy Man" and FGL's "Anything Goes" — which was even surprising to the duo's Tyler Hubbard. "Thanks for making that a Number One song this week," he said as "Anything Goes" came to its snarling end. “And thanks to this band. We've really had zero rehearsal, we've never done this together and didn't even sound check."

Photo credit: Debbie Hale. Brian Kelly, Tim Sergent on banjo (DB), and Tyler Hubbard of Florida Georgia Line

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley.  Brooke Eden
Photo Credit: Takara Dingley. Canaan Smith toured with Dierks this summer
Photo Credit: Takara Dingley. The Cadillac Three performed White Lightning

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley. Cole Swindell

Dierks and his band (who had been playing all night) hit the stage with Sideways and played a full hour set, complete with Up On The Ridge fire and Riser.  He declared Dalton as the Riser of the night, the boy he met as a 2-year-old nine years ago and he is still going strong thanks to Dierks and Miles and Music's support of the Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley.  Dierks and Dan Hochhalter

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley.  Cassady Feasby, Brian Layson, Dierks Bentley

Photo Credit: Takara Dingley. Brian Layson, Dierks

Dalton's "Riser" video--this is what it's all about!

Way to go, Dalton! We're so happy to support Dierks' Miles and Music For Kids event year after year to help Vanderbilt's Childrens Hospital so you can continue to be a survivor and a riser and live a long and happy life!

The morning after, we were having breakfast at our hotel and the Food and Beverage manager, Jermaine Dunlap, (aka James), stopped by our table.  He asked about the concert and we told him how much was raised for Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.  He told us how he supports John Rich and St. Jude's every year, but that his own son had to use Vanderbilt to have kidney surgery.  He said the total was over $105,000 and he went to family and friends to try to figure out how to pay that bill.  The next day, he met with hospital staff and was told an anonymous donor had taken care of it.  He then realized that events like Dierks' Miles and Music For Kids goes a long way in helping families cover the cost of saving their child's life.  Jermaine then vowed to support MM4K every year!  That's what it's all about!

~Ronna Clark (FL)
DB Congress Chair


  1. What an awesome blog. You summed it up perfect. I'm blessed to have witnessed this wonderful find raiser every year with so many friends I've made over the years.

  2. Becky WierzbickiWed Nov 04, 05:26:00 AM

    What a great blog! You said it all. I am so happy I got to be with all of you and play a tiny part in this incredible event, it is very humbling.

  3. WOW!! Your words and account of this past weekend brought tears to my eyes! You brought the love that goes on behind the scenes to the forefront!! The love and loyalty DB Congress Members have for Dierks is apparent and extending that to the Children at Vanderbilt just makes perfect sense!! Dierks' love for these Children is the driving force behind MM4K! What an AMAZING event!! Everyone WINS!! Good job CONGRESS!! Next year ~ it is a must!!

  4. Fantastic blog, Ronna! This event is definitely on my bucket list! And also a big thanks to those who were at the event and periscoped and shared pics for us who weren't there. I love being part of DB Congress - a great group of people! I'm so proud to be a fan of Dierks - who always goes above and beyond!

  5. Thanks ladies! Yes Sylvia and Sherrie--next year! Start saving/planning now!