by Renae Goettel || AHL On The Beat Archive
Cowboy hats, cowboy boots, Texas-sized belt buckles and country music are common things here in Texas. And though San Antonio Rampage head coach Pat Conacher hasn’t purchased the belt buckle, he feels right at home.
Growing up in Calgary, Alta., which is known for the Calgary Stampede, one of the biggest rodeos in the world, and for the ranching and farming, he didn’t have to make too many adjustments moving to San Antonio. This country lifestyle also is what influenced Conacher’s interest in country music.
“I think what happens is that you’re influenced by your parents,” Conacher said. “I can’t say I ever had an interest in country music, it was just always there, that’s what we listened to, and it was always on the radio every day, so I think that’s how it came to start.”
Conacher’s parents grew up on farms where their entertainment was Saturday night barn dances. They did not have television, but they did have a radio, and it seemed the dial was always tuned to a country station.
As a kid, Conacher was introduced to country music through artists like Patsy Cline, George Jones and Merle Haggard, which were some of his family’s favorites.
While Conacher did not grow up on a farm himself, he remembers seeing his parents and other family members continuing those barn dances and enjoying the country music on the radio.
Country music has always been in the family, and as Conacher admitted, it wasn’t really an interest of his, but he has grown to love it.
“It’s evolving all the time,” said Conacher. “The older country music wasn’t for everybody, but the stuff that’s coming out now is so mainstream, where it’s music for everyone.”
He says that the country song that best describes him is “The Ride” by Chris LeDoux.
Conacher’s current favorite country music artist is San Antonio’s own George Strait. But he also enjoys a mix of artists like Jones, Haggard and Garth Brooks. And if he could get on stage with a country singer, it would be Brooks and they would be singing She Just Stopped Loving You Today.
Conacher’s wife and three children are also fans of the country genre.
“I think it was because of the influence they had from their grandparents,” said Conacher. “And again being able to travel and spend time with the family. At Christmas, we’d always go to my aunt’s (home) on the farm and we’d do skits with the kids. They all had to sing songs, and of course the country music was always blaring, and we’d dance. So they got a lot of it and they’re definitely big country fans.”
Conacher does not require country music to be played in the locker room, but says that amongst the wide range of music played, country is one that he has heard being played.
As the Rampage travel through their 2006-07 campaign, Conacher says that Life is a Highway by Rascal Flatts best describes the team this season.