Ronnie Dunn performs at the 46th Annual Academy of Country Music Awards in Las Vegas on Sunday, April 3, 2011. AP Photo/Julie Jacobson
For months, Shelby, N.C., locals and many others have anxiously anticipated the announcement of the country music artist who will be performing prior to the start of the 2011 American Legion World Series games. That wait is over.
Grammy winner Ronnie Dunn, formerly of the duo Brooks & Dunn, will perform in front of 6,000 fans at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds in Shelby on Aug. 11. And at the moment, plans are being finalized for another artist to be the opener. More importantly, Dunn’s performance is just the beginning to the exciting, unforgettable events Shelby’s Legion Baseball Committee has planned for coaches, players, family members and locals during the World Series, Aug. 12-16.
To prepare for the series and properly accommodate it, Shelby has spent the last six months transforming Keeter Stadium into a state-of-the-art ballpark. However, a few upgrades go beyond the stadium and into the quaint, hospitable town of Shelby.
The outdated, above-ground dugouts were first to undergo major renovation, and after months of construction, Keeter Stadium has two 12-by-70 sunken dugouts that feature rails, storage lights, a restroom and phone lines with direct access to the press box. With the dugouts complete, foundation has recently been laid for an additional 500 seats to be added above each dugout, increasing the ballparks seating capacity from 4,000 to 5,000.
Foundation has also been laid for the new 1,800 square-foot World Series headquarters building that will house national staff. This past December, Lowe’s Home Improvement donated $300,000 for the construction of the building, which will be located adjacent to the field. And to keep Legion staff and others updated on the local weather, Internet scoring and live webcast of each game, a 50-inch monitor will be housed in the World Series headquarters building along with a 42-inch one in the press box.
As for upgrades beyond the stadium, signs now hang below 10 of the “Welcome to Shelby City Limit” signs that run along highways and streets entering into the town. The new signs read: “Home of American Legion World Series.” You can see photos of the signs, as well as stadium renovations, by clicking here to visit Shelby’s Legion World Series Facebook page. And for information on World Series tickets, transportation, accommodations, the latest news and much more, visit www.clevelandcountybaseball.com.