Sep 2, 2012 - By Martin Reed, Staff WriterBruce Knell of Lander recalls when his son Brody had a cancer diagnosis in 1999 and the related hardships and impacts that came with the revelation.
"It was a well-known thing in our community. Almost the entire fifth-grade class of his shaved their head in solidarity when he was going through chemotherapy and radiation -- including one of his teachers," Knell said.
"And I was in need, I'll tell you," he said, adding there wasn't any help available at the time to assist in cancer treatment.
Years later, Knell is helping others who are going through similar circumstances. "This year at the Tough Enough rodeo, I bought the chaps at the auction," he said, referring to the county fair rodeo fundraiser.
Knell is boosting his support of the Tough Enough to Help Cancer Fund that assists Fremont County people who are undergoing cancer treatment with their costs through a pair of concerts in Lander and Riverton this month.
His band, Eight Second Ride, will perform on Saturday, Sept. 8, at the Lander Valley High School auditorium and a week later on Sept. 15 at Central Wyoming College's Robert A. Peck Art Center Theater.
Both shows start at 7 p.m. and $20 tickets are available in Lander at the Chamber of Commerce and Wild West Power Sports and in Riverton at Mammoth Music.
"Every penny, every dime is going to that Tough Enough to Help Cancer Fund," Knell said.
The ticket costs go directly to cancer patients while providing admission to quality entertainment, he said.
"All the touring and playing I've done in this country, I have never assembled this good a collective of musicians," he said. "Each guy is just spectacular in their own right, so the show itself is worth the $20 ticket and every penny is going to the cancer fund."
Knell has toured extensively with Eight Second Ride. "We've opened for Mark Chesnutt and Gary Allan and Trick Pony and Lonestar and Brooks & Dunn. The list goes on. I've played all over the country," he said.
His musical career went on hiatus during his son's cancer experience, but the opportunity to return to the stage has presented itself.
"I got together with some musician friends of mine and said, 'Hey, how about we put together a couple of concerts?'" Knell said. "We have been in the studio since April in anticipation of these two shows."
In addition to Knell as lead singer, the band consists of Jon Cox on guitar, mandolin and backup vocals; Carl Baxter playing piano; fiddle player Farron Eisemann, who is a former Wyoming state fiddle champion; drummer Scott Gantenbein; bassist Joe Walters; Ed Flom on lead guitar; and backup singers including his daughter Rosi Knell and Ashley Coughanour.
"For these concerts we are strictly doing cover tunes because we are not going to release any of our songs until our CD comes out next spring," Bruce Knell said.
Each show will feature an after-party, one at The Forge for the Lander concert and another at Bar 10 following the Riverton performance.
"Have some drinks and meet the band and the people from Tough Enough," Knell said.
Raffle tickets will be available for a purple tractor provided by Mike Thompson from Jack's Saw Shop in Riverton. "Last year they did a pink one for Tough Enough," Knell said.
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