The Academy of Country Music and its charitable arm ACM Lifting Lives presented $25,000 each to Wounded Warrior Project and Folds of Honor plus another $10,000 to Nellis Air Force Base Force Support Squadron on the second day of the ACM's Party for a Cause Festival, an outdoor music festival leading up to tonight's (April 7) 48th annual ACM Awards.
Kix Brooks played host for the 10-hour second day held in a parking lot outside the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Sheryl Crow and Tim McGraw made surprise appearances at the event headlined by Dierks Bentley. Lee Brice, Kix Brooks, Hunter Hayes, Dustin Lynch, Eli Young Band and Love and Theft also performed under gray skies and typical Vegas heat.
Dierks Bentley, left, and Tim McGraw meet up backstage prior to Bentley's headlining gig at the Party for a Cause Festival. (Photo: Rick Diamond/Getty Images)
McGraw came onstage as Bentley performed "Home," with the mission of introducing Army Sgt. Mathew Pickar and his wife, who received a new home through Operation Homefront. McGraw gave them an additional $10,000. Crow surprised the crowd by joining Bentley and then performing her hit “If It Makes You Happy."
Academy of Country Music CEO Bob Romeo presented the checks after being introduced to the crowd by A&E’s “Duck Dynasty" cast of the Robertsons, Willie, Jep, Korie and Jessica.
Army Sgt. Matthew Pickar (center) received a check for a new home Saturday at the ACM's Party for a Cause Festial that raised money for charity organizations that assist military personnel. Tim McGraw, far left, and Dierks Bentley, far right, joined in the presentation. (Chris Polk/Getty Images)
One of the more eye-opening performances of the day came from Hayes, whose guitar style borrows from a bounty of varies players -- Buddy Guy, Prince, Billy Gibbons and others. We caught up with Hayes' father to get an explanation of how he has come to know so much in such a short life.
Hunter Hayes mid-air during his energetic hour-long performance Saturday at the ACM's Party for a Cause Festival. (Photo: Chris Polk/Getty Images)
"As a music fan -- but not one who could play -- I gave him a lot of music to listen , too," Hayes' father Leo Hayes said after his son's performance, which included a hard-charging rendition of Stevie Wonder's "Superstition." "He just keeps listening and keeps asking questions and learning."
On the first day of the ACM Experience, Hayes tried his hand at car racing. Hunter and his crew drove a few sports cars around a track, topping 100 miles per hour.
Hunter Hayes who raced a car over 100 mph. (Getty).