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Sonoma Stampede kicks up its boot heels again

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"This guy's an American classic, an authentic, true-to-life country singer." So speaketh music mogul L. A. Reid, singling out Sonoma Stampede headliner Tate Stevens before he even made the cut for last season's X Factor.

In three months, the rising star went from laying asphalt for the city of Belton, Mo., to winning a $5 million recording contract in Nashville, Tenn. And beneath that ten-gallon hat, he's got one hell of a voice.

This year's revamped Sonoma Stampede promises an outstanding lineup of country artists, with hometown celebrities Pete Stringfellow and Shannon Rider, who now call Nashville home, sharing the stage with "Music City" hopefuls like Ukiah starlet McKenna Faith and Santa Rosa honky-tonk boys JD Bauman & the Boot Band. A second stage has been added for Americana bands, including Frankie Boots and the Country Line, winners of the 2013 NorBay Awards for best country artist.

Topping off killer barbecue and a wide selection of beer and wine are this year's Redneck Games. Gold Digger, according to organizers, is when "a heaping nugget of 14-karat gold" will be thrown into a pool of sloppy mud to be sought after by some of the county's fiercest cowgirls. Break out your best belt buckles, boys—this is gonna get messy.

Sonoma Stampede kicks into high gear on Saturday, Sept. 21, at Keiser Park. 700 Windsor River Road, Windsor. 11am–9pm. $20–$75. www.sonomastampede.com.

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