Few country stars inspire as much devotion as George Strait. At 68 years old, the King of Country has sold over 100 million records worldwide. But the notoriously press-shy singer doesn't make a habit of sharing a lot of personal information. He is known for being Texan through and through, preferring to live close to his family in South Texas instead of in Nashville among some of the other great country superstars.
Here are 10 Strait facts even the most hardcore country fans may not know.
10. He eloped with his high school sweetheart
Strait met Norma Voss in high school and it was love at first sight. The two married in Mexico on December 4, 1971. Over forty years later, the country singer and Norma are still going strong. He leads a quiet life with his wife in their San Antonio home located in the Dominion area. The casita is absolutely stunning, with the main house situated on a beautiful hilltop overlooking the Texas Hill Country.
9. He served in the U.S. Army
Shortly after he married Norma, Strait enlisted in the U.S. Army. He was stationed in Hawaii as part of the 25th Infantry Division. Strait's time in the service helped further his music career. Although he had formed a garage band in high school, Strait's taste of country fame for the first time was with his U.S. Army-sponsored band, Rambling Country.
8. He has a degree in agriculture
There's a reason Strait is so convincing in those Tractor Supply Co. commercials. The King knows his stuff when it comes to ranch livin'. In 1975, Strait enrolled at Southwest Texas State University (now Texas State) and earned a degree in agriculture.
7. His son is a songwriter
George Sr. isn't the only musically-inclined member of his family. His son George Jr., known as "Bubba," has co-written several songs with his famous dad, including "Arkansas Dave" and "Living for the Night."
6. His mother left when he was young
Strait's parents divorced when he was in the fourth grade. His mother Doris moved away with Strait's sister. George and his brother Johny Jr., also known as "Buddy," were raised by their father, a math teacher. The family lived on a ranch in Pearsall, Texas.
5. He holds the record for the largest indoor concert in North America
Even the Rolling Stones are no match for George Strait. At his 2014 concert in Arlington, Texas, Strait broke the Stones' record for the largest indoor concert when 104,793 fans crowded in the AT&T Stadium. Strait's innovative tours are just part of the reason his net worth is over $300 million.
4. He played his first shows in his college town bar
Strait cut his country music teeth in San Marcos, Texas at the Cheatham Street Warehouse. He found a flyer for a country band that needed a lead singer and a Texas star was born. Strait and his band gained a huge following throughout central Texas, playing regular slots at Cheatham Street and nearby Gruene Hall. Cheatham Street proprietor Kent Finlay even drove Strait to Nashville to record his first demos.
3. He's a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association
George Strait doesn't just sing about being a cowboy, he lives the life. Strait, along with his son Bubba, is a member of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA). Strait and his brother Buddy started the George Strait Team Roping Classic competition.
2. He's not a member of the Grand Ole Opry
Despite being the King of Country and a Grammy winner multiple times over, Strait is not a member of the Opry. Strait reportedly turned down an invitation to become a member of the historic organization. We're not sure why Strait hasn't joined, but we're guessing it's because the Opry requires a certain number of appearances per year and Nashville is a long way from Texas.
1. He holds the record for most CMA awards in country music history
By now, the fact that George Strait holds the record for the most number-one singles on the Billboard country charts is pretty common knowledge. But did you know that Strait has also racked up more Country Music Association awards than anyone in country music history? The King has 83 CMA nominations and 23 wins, including three wins for Entertainer of the Year.
This article was originally published in July of 2017.