Inaugural CMA Touring Lifetime Achievement Awards To Be Presented To Randy “Baja” Fletcher deepak January 9, 2017 NASHVILLE – Touring veteran Randy “Baja” Fletcher will be honored with the first ever CMA Touring Lifetime Achievement Award at the annual CMA Touring Awards (formerly known as the SRO Awards). CMA Touring Awards will be presented in Nashville at Marathon Music Works on Monday, Jan. 23 to Fletcher, alongside winners in 15 categories. The evening will be hosted by CMA Awards winner Kristian Bush. The CMA Touring Lifetime Achievement Award is for an individual who has accomplished the highest level in the Country Music field of touring. The Award was established to recognize an individual who has achieved both prominence and stature at the highest level. The individual receiving this Award has positively impacted and contributed to the growth of touring throughout a course of years that have proven to have an unprecedented historical impact on Country Music fans and the industry alike, and whose presence will have a long-term positive impact on Country Music and CMA for generations to come. “Over the course of his amazing career, Baja has worked with countless artists, concerts, and events. He has been an integral part of some of the genre’s most ambitious tours, the careers of some of Country Music’s biggest icons, and the Country community. The respect that everyone who has ever worked with Baja has for him proves that he is a perfect fit to be the first recipient of this Award,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “It’s a true honor of being the first ever to receive the CMA Touring Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Fletcher. “I am a very blessed man to have this life & journey that the good Lord has given me. This has been one heck of a ride down that old ‘Highway of Life’” Fletcher got his start in Virginia Beach, Va., and has been on the road nearly 50 years. His touring career began at the age of 17 with Bill Deal and the Rhondels. He traveled with the band up and down the East Coast on solo dates, as well as part of packaged shows of the era that included pop and Motown greats. In May of 1969, Fletcher’s career was briefly interrupted when he answered the call to serve his country in the US Army, including a tour of Vietnam. After his tour of duty, he returned to work with the Rhondels. While working as a concert stage manager in 1973, he made a connection that would land him a job on the road with rock legends ZZ Top, with whom he would tour for much of the mid ‘70s, including the notable Worldwide Texas Tour. In 1978 his path crossed fully into the world of Country Music royalty when he began what became a 10-year run as stage and production manager for Waylon Jennings. During this time he also co-toured with Country legends Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, George Jones, Willie Nelson, and many more. In 1988 he began working with Randy Travis (the Country Music Hall of Fame member’s first headlining tour), whom he would continue with for five years. When Travis took a break from touring at the end of 1992, Fletcher began working with a then up-and-coming duo named Brooks & Dunn. For the next 18 years he served as production manager for their tours, which would not only help cement them as CMA’s most Awarded duo, but help drive an era that would take Country Music touring to new heights. Following his time with Brooks & Dunn, Fletcher opened the current chapter of his career in 2011 when he took on the role as production manager for another Country superstar, Keith Urban, with whom he tours currently. In addition to the CMA Touring Lifetime Achievement Award, CMA Touring Awards will be presented in the following categories: BUSINESS MANAGER OF THE YEAR COACH/TRUCK DRIVER OF THE YEAR FOH (FRONT OF HOUSE) ENGINEER OF THE YEAR LIGHTING DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR MANAGER OF THE YEAR TOUR MANAGER OF THE YEAR MONITOR ENGINEER OF THE YEAR RODUCTION MANAGER OF THE YEAR PUBLICIST OF THE YEAR AGENT OF THE YEAR TALENT BUYER/PROMOTER OF THE YEAR TOUR CATERER OF THE YEAR TOURING MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR VENUE OF THE YEAR TOUR VIDEO DIRECTOR OF THE YEAR The CMA Touring Awards were originally created by the CMA Board of Directors in 1990 to honor outstanding professional achievement within the touring industry. The first Awards were presented at a black tie gala, hosted by K.T. Oslin and Roger Miller, during CMA’s Entertainment Expo, which was also known as the Talent Buyers Entertainment Marketplace. Ten CMA Touring Awards were presented at the first gala and the number of awards swelled to 19 before the last were handed out in 1997. In 2011, CMA brought back the Touring Musician of the Year Award. In 2012, Awards in 14 categories were handed out in Nashville during the annual IEBA Conference and in 2013, the Talent Buyer/Promoter of the Year award was added bringing the total number of Touring Awards categories to 15.