This past weekend was a big one for Craig Morgan, who hosted his 6th annual Charity Weekend for Billy's Place in Dickson, Tennessee. The event kicked off on Saturday with a motocross exhibition followed by a group trail ride and lunch that featured some of the top riders in the sport. Sunday included the return of the Sporting Clay Shoot, an event that Morgan started last year.
In between, Morgan entertained the crowd at Dickson Middle School Saturday night, alongside Darryl Worley, and Headline News' "Morning Express" anchor Robin Meade. GAC personality Nan Kelley emceed the event, held in the school auditorium.
In an exclusive interview with Billboard, Morgan said that giving back is something he takes very seriously. "I think it's so important that we as entertainers realize regardless of our genre or form of entertainment - we are part of a community, regardless of where we go in our lives. I think it's so important that we give back to the community. This is a way for us to do it. We've been wanting to build this home for a long time. We're still not building it yet, but we're in a much better place to build it than we ever have been - due to the people that have came out and supported this event and the funds that we have raised."
The "home" that Morgan is referring to is "Billy's Place," a project that Morgan initially thought of while serving as a Sheriff's Deputy in Dickson. It is named for his wife Karen's father. The mission of the organization is to build and maintain a home called Billy's Place for temporarily displaced children in Dickson County Tennessee and to provide lasting funding for the home. In 2011, the events of the weekend raised over $95,000 in support of Billy's Place and other children's welfare organizations.
Meade applauded Morgan for his efforts, telling Billboard "When there is a child who isn't in the foster care system, but needs someone to watch over them - it could be an hour, it could be days, the way the court system works, there isn't a place in a five county area for a child to go if a parent gets incarcerated, and seeing a judge really fast. How impressive that Craig has had this in his heart for so long!"
Kelley said that Morgan's willingness to help is something she admires in the singer. "I love who he is. I've gotten to be with him in Iraq, and see who he is on a personal level. I've met his family, and been around them, and his heart is as big as it seems. So, when he calls, and asks me to be a part of something that raises money for people who need it, there's always a yes for him in that respect."
For Worley, the event was a way for him to pass forward Morgan's appearance at Worley's 2010 "Tennessee River Run," a similar week of events held in his hometown of Savannah, TN. "That's what we do. I told him if he came down and helped me out, I would return the favor. I'm just glad to be here, and to help out with something so close to Craig's heart."
The evening also included an old-fashioned auction emceed by local broker Scott England which included a car, as well as a hunting trip with Morgan - to be filmed for an episode of his popular "All Access Outdoors" series.