Ever have one of those days? You know the kind. Roll out of bed after hitting the snooze 11 times. Run out of coffee. Run out and buy coffee. Make coffee and think ah that was the worst of it only to realize no cream! And then something incredible happens and no not the kind of incredible where you can zip those jeans that have been giving you a hard time and oh look, there’s a twenty in the pocket. No. Way better than that!
The incredible came as I was trying to fit 5 hours of errands into 45 minutes. My phone started buzzing and I picked it up intending to throw it into a wall but the name caught my eye. I stopped mid-hurl to see if my eyes were playing tricks but nope. It was real. Rhonda Adkins, wife of Trace Adkins, country music superstar, Celebrity Apprentice phenomenon was letting me know that Trace was calling me. In 30 minutes. As in Trace freakin Adkins!
My phone rang and the most incredible voice in country music asked to speak with Kristen Ferrari. I was so lost in that voice that for a minute I forgot I was Kristen Ferrari. I dumped an entire box of dog treats on the floor to distract the dog from barking at every squirrel in the neighborhood and had a seemingly normal conversation with the man who brought us You’re Gonna Miss This and my personal favorite, Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.
I say seemingly normal because he was so normal, down to earth and nice and if it weren’t for that voice I would have sworn it wasn’t a country music sensation on the other end. I resisted the urge to ask him to sing his side of the conversation. Maybe next time.
Anyway, why did Trace Adkins agree to another season? Wasn’t one enough? He laughed saying he had actually turned it down both times. But then Massapequa production and NBC VP, Chuck LaBella went over his head to his wife, Rhonda, and next thing you know, he was competing on Celebrity Apprentice and then Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars.
He laughed about it but also was clear that he loved the idea of raising money for the American Red Cross. After a devastating house fire in 2011, the Adkins family saw first-hand the need for people to have help in a crisis. Nobody plans for their house to burn down and having trained responders show up on the heels of the fire department eased the overwhelming process of how to move forward. Little things like knowing where important documents are can be overlooked without people who are trained to deal with crisis.
Trace talked about being in Alaska when the fire happened and the gratitude he felt for the Red Cross for being there when he couldn’t be. He considers himself a person who always tried to pay people back and hopes to do that with his latest stint on Celebrity Apprentice All-Stars.
I asked Trace about his fellow contestants. He spoke highly of Penn Jillette saying, “I picked Penn first. He was the man to beat and I wanted him on my team.”
Omarosa? And yes. I tried desperately to goad Trace into telling me how mean she was but he was a perfect gentlemen. He even surprised me when he said that he had planned on picking her second because he had played with her before and could have used her against the other team. “I’ve never had any problems with Omarosa. I’ve always been decent to her and she’s always been decent to me.”
Stephen Baldwin? Stephen didn’t bring in one penny. Wasn’t that sabotage? Wasn’t that sleazy? Trace didn’t bite simply saying, “I accept Stephen for who he is. I knew when I picked him that he wasn’t a fundraiser.”
Stephen was picked because he was from New York. Massapequa, actually, I told Trace, though after watching Stephen do nothing to help his team I wasn’t feeling the hometown pride. Trace felt that since they were playing in New York, it would help to have New Yorkers on the team.
What stood out to me was the generosity of the country music community. Combined with T Boone Pickens’ donation of $100K, Trace raised over $400K. I would have thought Bret Michaels would have been the big money drawer but the country music community pulled together giving Trace a big win.
Trace spoke again about the outpouring of support from the country music community and how appreciative he was especially considering that many donors couldn’t be shown because it would ruin the suspense of knowing which team raised the most money for the viewers. The amazing part is that nobody complained about not being shown making their donation. It was a true coming together for charity.
I asked him for a final thought about doing the show. He laughed heartily comparing it to AA saying you just try to get through, hour by hour without killing someone.
Trace called it a redeemable reality show. After all, behind all of the backstabbing and manipulation millions of dollars have been raised for charity.
Kristen is a single mom of 3 kids and studying at The CUNY School of Professional Studies. She is blogging while she still figures out what she wants to be when she grows up.