Want to know a secret? I've never been to Winstock, and I have a very good reason why not. 

Winstock is the first country music festival of the summer. It's one of the biggest and one of the best. So I've heard.

I've never been to Winstock. I have had weekend passes in my hands before and I have never, ever used them. It's not that I didn't want to. It's because they had a better home somewhere else.

In 1999, I was working for a country radio station in Hutchinson. It was one of the greatest places I have ever worked. It was very early in my radio career and those people took care of me like family. I had a sudden hospitalization in early June of that year and the coworkers there rallied around me. What they did for me, I will never forget, nor can I repay.

When I came back to work after being in the hospital, they decided that I should go and have some fun, and my boss handed me four weekend passes to Winstock. No questions asked, he just gave me the tickets and the weekend off. I happily took the tickets and drove straight back to the hospital.

There was a young nurse there that knew me from the radio. She was an excellent care giver and even snuck popsicles into my room. She loved country music and wanted to go to Winstock that year because John Michael Montgomery was playing and he was her favorite, but she was new to nursing and couldn't afford the tickets.

I walked up to the nurse's station, asked for her and when she came out, she recognized me right away. I told her that she was going to be an excellent nurse, and handed her an envelope. She looked a tad puzzled and opened the envelope. She saw what was inside, burst into tears and gave me one of the best hugs I had ever gotten. She hugged me so tight, I had to remind her I still had stitches and joked she was at risk of popping them.

Her reaction was all the thanks I needed.

And that's why I have never been to Winstock.