Headliners of shorter Buckeye Country Superfest bring out big fans

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Judy, Baylee, Christina and Lynsey Buck blew through Ohio Stadium like a cotton candy cloud on Saturday afternoon.

All four — Judy and her three daughters — moved as one in matching pink T-shirts that displayed big news: “We came from KC to see George and Blake.”

The George in question is George Strait, king of country, and Blake would be Blake Shelton, more like a duke.

Both headlined the one-day Buckeye Country Superfest, which the Bucks drove 10 hours from their Kansas City, Missouri, home to see.

Christina blamed the Strait obsession on her mom.

“She always loved him, so it’s what we listened to growing up,” she said. “When people ask about country, he’s our No. 1 reference.”

The Bucks were not alone in their Strait appreciation.

T-shirts emblazoned with his name — “Strait Up Cowgirl,” “Damn Strait” and “Jesus and George Strait” among them — outnumbered those of any other musician in the festival lineup, which included Texas country pop singer Raelynn (discovered by Shelton on the television show “The Voice”), honky-tonk trio Midland and party-ready Chris Janson.

Returning after a one-year hiatus, and dropping from two days to one, Buckeye Country Superfest nonetheless managed to book an enormous act in Strait, who has 60 No. 1 hits.

His song “I’ve Come to Expect Nothing Less from You” played on an endless loop in the concourse, where Ashley McKinley waited in a food line wearing sparkling silver cowboy boots.

McKinley, 23, traveled with her husband from Cedar Lake, Indiana, in the same boots she wore to her wedding.

The couple attended the inaugural Superfest in 2015, when Shelton was also a headliner, and had to come back to see Strait.

She said her footwear was “super comfy,” despite the bedazzling.

McKinley wasn’t alone in her choice of shoe, although there were far more New Balances than cowboy boots among the more than 55,000 people in attendance.

“I wear boots all week,” said Brian Morrison about his decision to wear sneakers.

The construction worker, 56, from Athens, prefers the classic country of George Jones and Merle Haggard to the newfangled synthesizer takeover of the genre, but he still sang along to Raelynn and tapped his foot during Midland.

He couldn’t pick a favorite Strait song, as long as Strait is the one playing.

“I like them all; I honestly do,” he said. “They’re not good unless he sings them.”

The cloudy, windy afternoon looked foreboding, but the rain stayed away, luckily for those wearing cowboy hats made out of cardboard beer boxes and the man wearing hand-painted overalls emblazoned with the face and lyrics of Hank Williams Jr.

Even if rain had come down, Linda Morgan and Katherine Adams were prepared. The friends — Morgan, 64, from Wellston and Adams, 78, from Chillicothe — pulled rain ponchos out of their bags and pockets.

They also had tissues and bandages, just in case.

“The older you get, the more prepared you get,” Morgan said.

They praised the new rule allowing entrants to bring clear, empty water bottles into the festival, where enormous blue jugs of water were available to fill them.

With all details taken care of, the two huddled together on the bleachers and prepared for eight hours of country music.

“My three daughters bought me two tickets for Mother’s Day, and I brought my best friend. Aren’t you lucky,” Adams said with a laugh.

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