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Rascal Flatts may return to the highway soon.
The country music trio comprised of Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney and Jay DeMarcus was set to traverse the landscape on a farewell curtain call, “Rascal Flatts Farewell: Life Is A Highway Tour,” but “unforeseen” circumstances derailed the band’s plans to perform.
“I think that COVID was really what caused the band to cancel their farewell tour and ultimately go in their separate directions,” DeMarcus’ wife Allison told Fox News Digital while discussing the inaugural Miss Volunteer America Pageant system. It’s an organization she helms designed to provide scholarship grants to young women.
“Jay has created another band just for fun called Generation Radio, but he is going to have to get back to playing some music because it’s just what he loves to do, and I’m not inexpensive,” she joked.
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The new supergroup, which was formed in 2020 with the mission to “bring ’80s rock and classic music back to life,” consists of two-time Grammy Award winner DeMarcus; Jason Scheff, longtime lead vocalist for the multi-platinum band Chicago; and Steve Ferrone, drummer for Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers.
They are joined by Chris Rodriguez and Tom Yankton, who have played alongside the likes of Garth Brooks, Kelly Clarkson, Kenny Loggins, Reba McEntire, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Christina Aguilera and a host of others.
But it became one hurdle after another for the Flatts when the “Bless the Broken Road” hitmakers announced their intentions to give it one more go-around before bowing out. But the train never left the station due to the pandemic stifling live music venues and Rooney quitting the band unexpectedly, a decision that still irks LeVox, he told Fox News Digital in October.
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“I wasn’t happy that Joe Don quit,” LeVox revealed, adding his bandmate’s departure “kind of came out of nowhere.
“It was like, ‘Let me try to wrap my head around this.’ And then I certainly wasn’t OK with the pandemic, which canceled everything. I hate the way that it ended. I hate that we didn’t get to do this farewell tour. I can’t stand the fact that it just feels there’s no closure with something that we’ve been so blessed with. That will always be in my heart.”
Rooney has remained in the recording industry through frequent collaborations with up-and-coming artists. News broke in September he was arrested for DUI in Nashville after he ran his vehicle into a tree line.
Despite the uphill battle, the Flatts has seen in recent years, Allison was optimistic.
“I do believe the band will be back together once again because they’re all still friends and partners in business, and they’ve had such a strong run for so long,” she said.
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“I do believe the band will be back together once again because they’re all still friends and partners in business, and they’ve had such a strong run for so long.”
For her part, the “Reel Eats” host is focused on the pageant world. She shared with Fox News Digital that $150,000 in scholarships will be awarded during the national pageant week that commenced May 4 in Jackson, Tenn.
It culminates with the Miss Volunteer America Pageant May 7, where 47 young women from across the country will compete for top honors with the national titleholder winning $50,000 in scholarships and the remaining $100,000 awarded to the runners-up, finalists, semi-finalists and state titleholders.
As of April 1, 2022, state titleholders have been crowned across the country in the Volunteer Pageant system with over $500,000 in college scholarships already awarded at the state level.
Allison said her goal is to expand the pageant to international success and hand out $1 million in scholarships every year.
“We’re almost there,” she said. “Let’s face it, education isn’t getting any cheaper. So being able to introduce these young women to experiences that can shape their lives in a big way is what keeps us going.
Allison added that while she doesn’t get much sleep as it is with her various ventures, she hadn’t slept in days leading up to pageant week.
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“I have so many amazing people around me who I can call upon at a moment’s notice, and they help me create so many opportunities for young women to chase their dreams and forward their education,” Allison added.
Although she has forged her own path in the pageant industry as Miss Tennessee Teen USA in 1994, Miss Tennessee in 1999 and Miss Tennessee USA in 2002, the mother of two with a Netflix reality show, “DeMarcus Family Rules,” said she could have never envisioned the path her life would take.
“I can’t say that I ever could have imagined having the success that I’ve seen in the entertainment business, but I have a voice great enough to hold a two-minute tune as a pageant queen, and Jay is such a great performer in his own right, I think the opportunity to showcase our family on Netflix was something that was new and exciting, and we certainly made the most of it,” she explained.
Allison maintained that providing an opportunity to young women to pay for their education places her back in time to when she was unsure what she wanted to do with her life.
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“I’m still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up!” she joked. “Jay has always known that music was going to be his avenue, which is a gift to be able to identify your strengths early on. So participating in pageants and maintaining my presence in the pageantry culture allowed me to grow in the realm of entertainment, and I’ve always only wanted to use my platform to help others achieve their own dreams.”
“Generation Z behaves and thinks differently than Millennials, who are different from those who came before them, so there is a new generation of young girls who aren’t answering emails, they’re DM’ing, and they’re on TikTok and all these other social channels. So it’s important to create a foundation that they want to be a part of, and in order to do that, we have to go to where they are and reach out to them in different ways that show our ability to move with the times.”
Asked if current pageants still have a “Miss Congeniality” slant to them, Allison bet that her own script would be better.
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“I could have written many pageant movies that were way funnier than ‘Miss Congeniality’ because the cast of characters that you come across in the pageant industry are so hilarious, and it’s all real,” she said.