Stories

All Roads Lead To the Opry: Carrie Underwood

You know her as the superstar, Carrie Underwood, but before she made a name for herself in country music, she grew up in the small town of Checotah, Oklahoma. This week, we took a summer road trip to Checotah to see this Opry member’s hometown in person.

We’re heading back to Oklahoma today... whose hometown do you think we’re visiting?

We’re Heading to Oklahoma…

We’ve already visited Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire and Vince Gill’s hometowns our next stop is Carrie’s hometown in the great state of Oklahoma.

Next Step: Checotah, OK – Opry Member Carrie Underwood’s hometown

Next Stop: Checotah, Oklahoma

Before she became a country music superstar, Carrie Underwood could be found here ... at the Opry House.

A Future Opry Star

Growing up without cable television more than 500 miles away from the Grand Ole Opry in Checotah, Oklahoma, Carrie rarely saw or heard the Opry growing up, but its powerful legacy still captured her imagination.

“I don’t even know how, but I always knew what it was,” she said. “You don’t have to see it or hear it, you automatically just know what it is. That’s how legendary it is.”

Where HWY 69 meets HWY 40 there’s a single stoplight town

There’s a Single Stoplight Town…

Being her hometown, it’s easy to see why Checotah means so much to Carrie.

Carrie’s debut album included a touching song paying homage to her hometown called, “I Ain’t in Checotah Anymore.”

Carrie graduated from Checotah High School in 2001

Checotah High School

In 2001, Carrie graduated from Checotah High School. The Fine Arts Wing of the school is named after Carrie in honor of her generous donations to the community.

Carrie’s Hometown Sign

After winning American Idol in 2005, Checotah proudly recognized Carrie with the sign “where 69 meets 40” in Checotah.

If you drive by with “I Ain’t in Checotah Anymore” playing loudly on your speakers, it really feels like a full-circle moment.

Carrie attended Northeastern State University before auditioning for and winning American Idol

Northeastern State University

Carrie was a student at Northeastern State University in Tahlequah, Oklahoma when she auditioned for, and won, American Idol.

Not too far from Checotah is the Muskogee Civic Center where thousands of family and friends gathered to cheer her to victory on American Idol

Muskogee Civic Center

When Carrie was awarded a spot on the American Idol season four finale, the Muskogee Civic Center was packed with friends and family who gathered to cheer her on.

All Roads Lead To The Opry ... and yours can, too!

All Roads Lead to the Opry

Carrie’s path took her all the way to Grand Ole Opry for her debut on June 10, 2005. She was later inducted as an Opry member in May of 2008.

Want to experience it for yourself? Come visit us at the Grand Ole Opry and discover the impact Carrie has made on our Opry family and country music history.

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