MORRISTOWN - For a few brief moments Friday, Bellaire's Robert 'Moose' Dodrill had the entire Jamboree crowd hanging on his every vocalize word.
It was a feeling Dodrill will never forget and one he hopes he can repeat at next year's Jamboree in the Hills.
Taking the stage in a patriotic shirt emblazoned with a bald eagle, Dodrill had the honor of kickstarting Friday's events with his stirring rendition of the national anthem.
Bellaire’s Robert ‘Moose’ Dodrill kicks off Friday’s festivities at Jamboree in the Hills with the national anthem.
"It's the one song everyone gets quiet for," "Dodrill said. "Everyone's eyes are on you."
Ironically, the tens of thousands of screaming fans in attendance Friday wasn't the largest crowd Dodrill has sang in front of. During the 1980s while playing in a band out in California, Dodrill had the chance to open for country legend George Strait, kicking off a concert that also featured K.T. Oslin and Highway 101.
While stationed in Turkey as a member of the United States Air Force, Dodrill also had the chance to sing God Bless the U.S.A. with Lee Greenwood.
But as an Ohio Valley native growing up in the shadow of the Jamboree USA stage and nearby Jamboree in the Hills, it was one of Dodrill's lifelong ambitions to take the stage and sing.
"I've been waiting for a long time to sing at Jamboree," Dodrill admitted. "It took 20 years but I'll be back.
"I've sent in CDs and asked for years to perform but I finally got to do it."
Technically, it wasn't Dodrill's first time singing on the Jamboree stage. Twice he competed in the former Jimmy Dean Country Showdown that was held previously at the site. Both times, he came in second.
But this time was different. This time, an entire throng of fans was gathered for the festivities. This time, Dodrill was performing one of the hardest songs for a vocalist to perform. It's also the one song that you don't want to screw up because you will never be able to live it down.
Fortunately for Dodrill, he nailed every night and the crowd signaled its approval with a thunderous applause.
He also received a congratulatory hug and praise from artist Aaron Lewis, the lead singer of Staind who debut his solo, country sound an appreciative audience later that night.
Earlier in the week, Dodrill received a text from country superstar and fellow Ohio Valley native Brad Paisley wishing him good luck with his performance.
Dodrill still performs locally, including an upcoming slot at the Upper Ohio Valley Italian Festival. In the past, he's performed all across the country.
But Friday will likely go down as one of his favorite musical moments of all time.
Drink and Drink and Fight
Captain Ron Everett with the Belmont County Sheriff's Department reported that there were a few domestic incidents and assaults late Thursday night, both inside the Jamboree campground and across the road at the Valley View campground.
"There were a couple of fights in (campground) 'B' late Thursday and some in Valley View," Everett said. "We have seen a slight increase in fights and domestics. We had a few late-night emergency calls, about seven or eight."
Everett said outside of that, the sheriff's department has been involved in an average amount of issues for the first two days of Jamboree.
Trading One Problem for Another
The wet weather and slightly cooler temperatures during Thursday and Friday of Jamboree have translated into few if any fans finding their way to the Jamboree medical tent for heat-related illnesses.
Of course, given the wet conditions, Dr. Neal Aulick and the staff at the medical tent have seen an increase of cuts, abrasions and other minor injuries because of falls in the mud. That, and the falls because of drunkenness.
"We've seen a few people who were treated for dehydration because of drinking too much alcohol, but nothing really heat related," Aulick said. "Overall, we're seeing about the same amount of people as we usually do. But of course, Saturday is our big day because people start drinking early."
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