Tahlequah Daily Press

February 11, 2014

Enid dedicates street to Rucker — temporarily

By Dale Denwalt, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — A few blocks of Independence have been renamed in honor of a Grammy Award-winning song performed by Darius Rucker, who was the first performer to sell out Enid Event Center.

City officials dedicated a sign Tuesday that points visitors toward Wagon Wheel Way, named for country music star Darius Rucker’s popular single, “Wagon Wheel.”

Neither the song nor the singer are all that new. Rucker previously fronted Hootie & The Blowfish and had one of the all-time top records in terms of sales figures.

Lyrics to “Wagon Wheel” originally were penned by Bob Dylan and later modified by Old Crow Medicine Show, a bluegrass revival group that released the finished song in 2004.

Rucker released his version a year ago on his third solo album, “True Believers.” It won a Grammy last month for Best Country Solo Performance. Rucker will be in town March 7 with tourmates Eli Young Band and David Nail.

Keller Taylor, general manager of Enid Event Center and Convention Hall, said having a sold-out show, especially with such a big-name artist, lends more credibility to Enid and his facility.

“It makes my first call to agents and promoters a lot easier, to say, ‘We sold out Darius Rucker,’” Taylor said.

Taylor announced about a month ago the concert had sold out. As of January, there were 3,774 seats spoken for.

In a mayoral proclamation adopted Monday night, Enid City Commission temporarily renamed Independence from Garriott north to Maine. It reverts back to Independence after Rucker’s one-night show.

Enid Event Center opened less than a year ago. After getting its first sold-out show and major performer, the interest from the entertainment industry is expected to grow.

“Probably more after the show than before,” Taylor said. “All the reporting mechanisms and that happen post-show. A lot more agents and promoters will see that we’ve got this sold-out show probably in mid-March.”

By then, the Rucker show will help the facility platform into larger acts, he added.

“We had great gross ticket sales on it. We charged a fair amount, but the community really supported it,” Taylor said. “It allows us to continue to put Enid on the map as a destination for family shows, concerts, consumer shows and really any type of entertainment that’s out there right now.”

Shows like Rucker that draw serious interest around the state are hoped to make Enid a regional destination for entertainment. Taylor said the events here mostly draw Enid residents, but many are from out of town.

“We continue to see that with our ticket purchaser data showing we’re really bringing 30 to 35, to even 40 percent people from outside the county into Enid to go downtown, spend money and hopefully stay once we get the downtown hotel,” he said.