George Strait schedules final tour: The Cowboy Rides Away George Strait schedules final tour: The Cowboy Rides Away
Country music icon, George Strait will be parking his tour bus after one final tour scheduled to begin early next year. The announcement for... George Strait schedules final tour: The Cowboy Rides Away

Country music icon, George Strait will be parking his tour bus after one final tour scheduled to begin early next year. The announcement for the The Cowboy Rides Away tour was made last week at a press conference held at the Country Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tennessee.

Strait surely plans to leave the road in a big way, with 21 dates set for 2013, followed by 20 more performances in 2014. While making the announcement Strait said, “Don’t think I’m retiring, because I’m not.” According to the Newsday, he plans to continue recording music and making occasional live appearances afterwards, but believes his long tour days will be behind him.

The Cowboy Rides Away Tour is anticipated to be a celebration of Strait’s career, with performances scheduled at many of his most cherished venues from the past. It will offer fans the opportunity to take in Strait’s live performance one final time, while singing along with all of their favorites. Strait hints that there may be a few surprises along the way.

Popular female country singer Martina McBride will be joining the tour as a guest performer for 2013 tour dates. Dates for the first leg of the tour have been released, and tickets will be available to the general public on Friday, October 12.

“I just don’t want to go to the point where I show up and nobody else does, you know? It’s been great. I’ve been doing it for 30-some odd years and I’ve loved it,” Strait said at the news conference. “…And here lately it’s just the walking out onstage part, that’s all great. I’m still loving that. It’s just the hectic part about touring and traveling and bam bam bam. I just feel like its time for me to try something else.”

Strait and company will be taking off on January 18 in Lubbock, Texas at the United Spirit Arena. Notable stops along the way include: February 2 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, March 1 at the Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee and March 17 at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo in Houston, Texas. Additional dates for 2013, as well as the announcement of the 2014 venues are expected soon.

With 59 number one hits, Strait has wowed country music fans across the country. His first hit single, “Unwound” was released in 1981, and Strait has consistently topped the charts since then. Newsday notes that he is the only artist known to have a top ten song every year during the duration of his music career.

Strait has had 13 multi-platinum, 33 platinum and 38 gold records, making it impossible to refer to him as anything but incredibly successful. In 2006, he was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.

“I’m sure I’ll miss it. I’m sure I will,” Strait said. “How can you not after doing it for so long. It was a hard decision to make. It was tough. I’ve lost sleep. But I think about midway through this tour I’ll realize that, yeah, I did make the right decision. It’s just a part of it.”