Mayor Fuller Feature - VENU Magazine

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McKinney's first couple brings Notes Live to town

Cal & Aly



I think being such a flagship, Class A, best-of-class facility really fits in with the McKinney community. This is the kind of venue that will have the kind of acts that will bring people from not just McKinney, but South Dallas, Oklahoma areas as well.



Notes Live is excited to announce the land deal for our latest Sunset Amphitheater in the Dallas Fort Worth region.

Our latest Sunset Amphitheater will be coming to McKinney, TX, in 2026, with ground breaking set for 2024.

Like our locations in Colorado Springs, CO, Oklahoma City, OK, and Broken Arrow, OK this 20,000-capacity venue will be a unique entertainment experience where you can enjoy the show in style from one of the 295 exclusive luxury fire pit suites

We're offering Lifetime Ownership Packages with up to 19% total targeted return (plus allocated depreciation). Packages include a 10-person, 8-person, 6-person, and/or 4-person luxury fire pit suite options. The days of waiting in lines for drinks and restrooms are over. All suites include food & beverage service to your suite, VIP parking, VIP restrooms, and lounge access.

Take advantage of a Lifetime Ownership Package opportunity at the Sunset at McKinney.








CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Clint Lovell, Jeanie Casison, Peter L. Smith, Benjamin David, Ross Hecox, Tina Eves



FEATURE PHOTOGRAPHY Studio 9 Commercial, Dana Green Photography


Brock Matthews E. P. (719) 895-5467


SUBSCRIPTIONS For your complimentary subscription

VENU MAGAZINE Articles, information and content in this publication are intended for informational purposes only, and a reader should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. All content in this publication is information of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Nothing in the publication constitutes professional and/or financial advice, nor does any information in the publication constitute a comprehensive or complete statement of the matters discussed or the law relating thereto. Nothing contained in this publication constitutes a solicitation, recommendation, endorsement, or offer by Notes Live or any third party to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments in any jurisdiction in which such solicitation or offer would be unlawful under the securities laws of such jurisdiction. Any offer may only be made through the definitive offering documents and agreements. There are risks associated with investing in securities. Investing in stocks, bonds, exchange traded funds, mutual funds, and money market funds involve risk of loss. A security’s, sponsor’s or a firm’s past investment performance is not a guarantee or predictor of future performance. Some of the material contained in this publication is not based on historical facts and is “forward-looking.” Forward-looking statements reflect an author’s expectations and are inherently uncertain. Forward-looking statements reflect an author’s current expectations and are inherently uncertain, and actual results may differ significantly from projections herein. Neither Notes Live, its affiliates, nor any other person assumes responsibility for the accuracy and completeness of any forwardlooking statements made by or regarding any company or project described in this publication. In this publication we try to provide content that is true and accurate as of the date of publishing; however, we give no assurance or warranty regarding the accuracy, timeliness, or applicability of all contents. Printed in the U.S.A. In This Issue 36 Cover Story As The Song Says: It's Been a Long Strange Trip ........................... 16 Mayor George Fuller of McKinney, Texas Notes Live Investor Family Profiles Dedicated to Getting the Good Times Rolling 14 Ed Raschen knows about building community within a crowd A Keen Eye for the Good–and Valuable–Things in Life ............................ 42 Milton Robson on nice cars and good investments Features Equine Epicenter ............................................. 26 The Western performance industry thrives in North Texas Colorado Has Sprung ........................................ 32 The line up for the Sunset Amphitheater Inaugural Season Revving Up The Auction Block 36 The thrilling rise of collector car auctions across eras and brands Western Skies, Country Ties .......................... 46 The roots of Oklahoma and Texas country music have branched out The New Food Frontier .................................... 52 World-class culinary experiences elevate the dining scene in Oklahoma and Texas 48 16
Photo Credit: Karissa Hosek/RM Sotheby’s.

FROM the editor

WE'VE GOT A SPRING IN OUR STEP WITH THE FIRST ISSUE OF 2024! Allow me to illuminate our vision for those familiar with our publication and those just discovering it. VENU springs from the fertile mind of Notes Live Founder, JW Roth, whose ardor for music and the alchemy of great experiences knows no bounds.

When the notion of a publication catering to investors and readers across Oklahoma and Texas emerged last year, I eagerly seized the opportunity to helm as Editor-in-Chief.

As a native of North Texas, Denton County holds my roots, yet my memories unfurl across both Oklahoma and Texas with family excursions to our grandparent's ranch in Coalgate, Oklahoma, wintry duck hunting escapades along the Red River, and the lively jaunts from Lake Texoma to Lewisville Lake as we raced to beat the summer heat. This region pulses with greatness, and it's an honor to serve its essence through our publication. This magazine has been meticulously crafted with you in mind, and we take immense pride in the investment and legacy our venues are establishing across both of our esteemed states. Our gratitude extends to the key stakeholders and elected officials who are diligently working to bring our vision to fruition, catering to music enthusiasts from all over the nation as well as locals.

Today, exciting news fills the air as we announce the launch of our state-ofthe-art music venues, already underway in Broken Arrow and Oklahoma City, and now expanding to McKinney, Texas! Notes Live stands as a haven for music and entertainment enthusiasts. As one of the nation's fastest-growing entertainment and hospitality entities, we've birthed a new avenue for investors to partake in ownership of the world's most opulent outdoor music venues, reaping returns from their flourishing profits.

As you dive into the pages of VENU, I'm confident you'll delight in our carefully curated collection of editorials penned by some of the industry's most esteemed writers. In this issue, we delve into the premier equine establishments of our region and celebrate our local culinary treasures. We also catch up with American Professional Wrestler and Hill Country local Bill Goldberg for a discussion on collector cars, including his personal collection. Naturally, we couldn't overlook the music scene, as Tina Eves brings us a captivating piece titled "Western Skies, Country Ties," featuring insights from Clint Black and Dennis Quaid. The roots of Oklahoma and Texas country music have naturally extended into contemporary genres, fostering an emerging live music scene with larger venues and richer experiences.

Until our next edition,





New Sunset Amphitheater announces opening act, date in Colorado Springs

A COUPLE OF HOMETOWN BOYS who blossomed into superstars will open the Pikes Peak region's new 8,000-seat Sunset Amphitheater this summer.

OneRepublic, the popular pop rock band founded more than two decades ago in Colorado Springs by lead singer Ryan Tedder and lead guitarist Zach Filkins, will christen the open-air venue for three nights, starting Aug. 9.

The amphitheater will host 20 "A-list shows" this summer, Roth says, plus other smaller acts. A couple of new shows will be announced almost every week over the next month.

An average year will see about 40 to 45 shows from May through October. Depending on the band, ticket prices could range from $40 to more than $300.

Live Nation to Operate New Amphitheater in Broken Arrow, OK

LIVE NATION HAS OFFICIALLY BEEN SELECTED AS THE OPERATOR of stateof-the-art Sunset Amphitheater planned for Broken Arrow, Oklahoma.

The 12,500-capacity venue, which is located just outside Tulsa and will be adjacent to Broken Arrow’s Events Park, is being developed by the City of Broken Arrow and music venue/ hospitality company Notes Live through a public-private partnership.

An announcement from Live Nation explains that Notes Live – which was founded by Colorado Springs, Coloradobased entrepreneur JW Roth – “focuses on identifying communities with growing populations and a shortage of high-quality music and entertainment venues.”

Notes Live is expected to close on the property in the spring, with construction to be completed in time for an anticipated summer 2025 opening. Plans are in the works to host major touring artists.

“Live Nation has unmatched experience managing and operating venues, and we’re thrilled to bring that expertise to the Sunset. Together we’re crafting a venue that will

be a beacon for artists touring the country and music fans across the region.” Notes Live Chairman and CEO JW Roth said in a statement.

Bob Roux, President, Live Nation Concerts, added, “Our teams share a mission to elevate hospitality for both artists and fans. We look forward to contributing even more shows to the live music scene in Tulsa,”


'Over-the-top' $220M concert venue planned for McKinney


A Colorado-based hospitality company plans to build a large amphitheater with room for up to 20,000 people in McKinney, which would fill the pressing need for a major concert venue in the suburban city.

Notes Live Inc. expects to begin construction on the Sunset Amphitheater in late 2024, with opening slated for sometime in 2026, according to a March 12 announcement. The $220 million stadium-style venue will be the largest in the company's portfolio.

The project that aims to grow the entertainment landscape of McKinney will span more than 46 acres and feature 295 "fire pit suites" as well as some reserved seating, according to the announcement.

McKinney, about 30 miles north of downtown Dallas and the seat of Collin County, is known for its sports and entertainment events, including the CJ Cup Byron Nelson golf tournament. But this new concert destination could help it attract big-name artists.

JW Roth, founder and CEO of Notes Live, said he is looking forward to bringing "the most over-the-top venue on Earth" to McKinney. The amphitheater will be located northeast of U.S. Highway 75 and State Highway 121.

"Northeast of U.S. Highway 75 and State Highway 121 is perfect for us," Roth

said. "The visibility is incredible, and that intersection is the gateway to McKinney, so that drove a big piece of it."

He credited city leaders with helping to seal the deal. Notes Live is working with the City of McKinney, the McKinney Economic Development Corp. and the McKinney Community Development Corp.

McKinney Mayor George Fuller said the future concert spot will likely become a magnet that attracts other businesses to the area.

"It is going to be the premiere destination ... that people will travel from all over the region to come to," Fuller said.

North Texas has become an increasingly vibrant music and entertainment destination. Last year, throngs of Taylor Swift fans packed AT&T Stadium for three nights of the singer's Eras Tour. American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas, Dos Equis Pavilion in Dallas' Fair Park and Toyota Stadium in Frisco are some of the region's notable, large concert venues that attract big-name artists. However, not many large music entertainment venues exist in McKinney, Fuller said.

"Currently, if you want to go see a show, you’ve got to drive an hour," he said. "The facilities are not state of the art … and this is all about an experience."

The economic impact of the amphitheater will be significant, Fuller added. The venue plans to host 50 to

60 concerts a year, in addition to community events including graduations and comedy shows.

Concert goers would likely frequent the hotels, restaurants and retail in the McKinney area before and after shows. This project could also help convince others developers to move ahead with new hotels or other mixed-use concepts in the city, Fuller said.

Additionally, in its first 10 years, Sunset Amphitheater plans to bring more than 1,300 jobs to the area and generate around $3 billion in regional and local economic activity, according to the Notes Live announcement.

"We've put a lot of effort in the last number of years to become a cultural arts designation in the state of Texas, to be a music-friendly city and to develop other entertainment venues ... all to provide a menu of diff different options for people to be engaged in the community in entertainment and music specifically, so this is huge," Fuller said.

Notes Live aims for the McKinney amphitheater to look similar to its food and music center in Colorado Springs, which is scheduled to open in August and will have a capacity of 8,000.

The 20,000 seat Sunset Amphitheater in McKinney, TX. Rendered Image

Final approval given for construction of new Broken Arrow amphitheater




The announcement was made by Notes Live Inc., the Colorado-based venue and hospitality company behind the project. Notes Live received final approval Tuesday evening from the Broken Arrow City Council to begin construction on the Sunset at Broken Arrow venue.

Scheduled to open during touring season in 2025, the amphitheater is being developed through a public-private partnership between the city and Notes Live.

“The approval of the site plan and the sale of 15 acres of land for the Sunset at Broken Arrow amphitheater are two steps closer to this exciting concept becoming reality,” Broken Arrow Mayor Debra

Wimpee said in a news release.

“These plans set the stage for the construction of the infrastructure improvements and amphitheater to begin soon. We are proud to partner with Notes Live on this amazing venue that will not only draw first-class musical acts to Broken Arrow for citizens and visitors but also attract future development opportunities, generate jobs and enhance the tax base, which will benefit our city and region.”

A news release says Sunset at Broken Arrow will showcase the nation’s top artists and musicians in a scenic setting that juxtaposes “superlative ambiance and hospitality with gorgeous views of plains, water and the clear night sky.” The lakeside location will be north of Broken Arrow Events Park and east of the Creek Turnpike in east Broken Arrow.

“Broken Arrow is exactly the kind of place we like to build — the kind of place that has ‘everything’ besides a place for major national acts to come play music outdoors — and I’m thrilled that the city has officially approved the development plans on this incredible venue,” Notes Live

Fresh Vine Wine, Inc. Signs Definitive Agreement To Acquire Live Entertainment Company Notes Live, Inc.

FRESH VINE WINE INC. (NYSE American: VINE) (“Fresh Vine”) announced on January 29, 2024 that it has executed a definitive merger agreement (the “Merger Agreement”) to combine with Notes Live, Inc. (“Notes Live”), the Colorado-based live entertainment and hospitality company, that currently operates entertainment campuses in both the Colorado Springs, Colorado, and Atlanta, Georgia metropolitan areas. Notes Live is also in the process of developing its crown-jewel, the Sunset Amphitheater collection, a set of luxury outdoor amphitheaters designed to set a new standard in entertainment. The flagship Sunset amphitheater location in Colorado Springs is in development and scheduled to open in August of 2024. Additional amphitheaters have also been announced by Notes Live in Oklahoma City and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and it has plans to expand into the North Texas market. The transaction contemplated by

the Merger Agreement (“Transaction”) is anticipated to close in June 2024, subject to approval by Fresh Vine’s stockholders, and the satisfaction of various additional closing conditions.

The Transaction will be an all-stock transaction. Specifically, at the closing of the Transaction, Fresh Vine will issue shares of its common stock to Notes Live shareholders pursuant to a formula intended to allocate existing Fresh Vine stockholders and Notes Live shareholders a percentage of the combined company. The respective percentages will be based on agreed upon relative valuations in which Notes Live is being valued at $350 million, plus the amount of gross proceeds raised by Notes Live in its current equity offering of up to $50 million, and Fresh Vine is being valued at $18.0 million. The percentage of the combined company that Fresh Vine stockholders will own upon the closing of the merger is subject to

Chairman and CEO J.W. Roth said in the news release.

“The Sunset is being developed through a true public-private partnership, and we’re excited to get even more involved with Broken Arrow’s extremely vibrant community.”

Modeled after a Notes Live food and music center in Colorado Springs, Sunset at Broken Arrow will feature luxury fire pit suites (already on sale), traditionally reserved seating (upper and lower bowl), a landscaped grass berm and custom-built owners club suites inset beneath a berm. The venue will be operated by and booked in partnership with Live Nation.

“Our teams share a mission to elevate hospitality for both artists and fans. We look forward to contributing even more shows to the live music scene in Tulsa,” Bob Roux, president of Live Nation Concerts, said in January.

adjustment based on the amount of Fresh Vine’s net cash at the time of closing.

Founder Chairman and CEO of Notes Live, JW Roth, will assume the role of Chairman & CEO of the public company at closing. The Merger Agreement contemplates that Fresh Vine will change its name to Notes Live Holdings, Inc., and its NYSE American ticker symbol to “VENU” upon closing.

“On behalf of our team here at Notes Live, we want to thank Mike Pruitt and his team at Fresh Vine for their trust in our vision to build a one-of-a-kind live entertainment and hospitality company. Mike and his team join a chorus of world class partners in the Notes Live family.” said JW Roth, Founder, Chairman and CEO of Notes Live.


A Team Effort in McKinney

MAKING SOMETHING GOOD HAPPEN ONSTAGE REQUIRES EVERYONE IN THE BAND TO PLAY THEIR PART —working in unison to find the groove. A process not dissimilar to bringing Notes Live’s 20,000-seat, $220 million amphitheater to McKinney, Texas. Mayor George Fuller, a professional musician, knows what it takes—onstage and backstage—to make things work.

“It comes down to meeting the people and looking at the team and knowing the team. We’ve done that as a city. We’ve gone up and met the people. We’ve looked at what they’ve done to date,” Fuller says about joining forces with Notes Live. “As I said before, the passion, this is something that is coming from the heart and soul and it’s coming from people with deep business experience. They have the ability to make it work and they have the passion to see it through. When you’re all in, you’re going to have success.”

Over the second quarter of 2024, the team’s focus will be on getting the project through the permitting process, laying the groundwork for construction to begin later in the year and a completion date in 2026. And when the doors open, McKinney’s Sunset Amphitheater will take its place as one of the country’s biggest open-air, canopied outdoor venues.

that it’s not just about the facility as much as the people behind it,” Maso explains. “From the first time I met J.W.—hearing his passion, his vision, and also his experience—I mean a lot of people have the vision but to be able to implement it is something J.W. has been able to do time and time again.”


team in McKinney is second to none. I am proud to have found such great partners within Mckinney that run with the same passion that we do.

Why was Maso ready to jump into action? Because another member of the Notes Live team—Chad Hennings, former Cowboys great and now a member of the Notes Live board of directors—had already brought him into the fold. He got to know Maso as The Star in Frisco, a project vitally important to everyone in Cowboys Nation, was developed. A resident of the Dallas area since his playing days, Hennings is thrilled with what the new Notes Live venture will bring to the area.

I can't thank Mayor Fuller, Maher Maso, and Chad Hennings enough for their support and unwavering perseverance.”

JW Roth - Founder & CEO of Notes Live

The first key Notes Live player to join the band was the former mayor of neighboring Frisco, Texas. Now a principal at the consulting firm Ryan LLC, Maher Maso has been part of “putting together some major deals, whether it’s the Dallas Cowboys or the PGA or FC Dallas.” During his tenure, Frisco became a sports venue hub, including the construction of what has been the Cowboys’ world headquarters since 2016—The Star in Frisco.

When Fuller heard about Notes Live, he reached out to Maso. From having played a role in so many public-private development projects, he knew his part.

“What’s really made all those venues successful are the people. They’re good at what they do and they know what they’re doing. So, when I met the team at Notes Live it was obvious to me

“Notes Live will be a success because the community wants it. The city of McKinney wants it. The North Dallas fan base wants it. Corporate America wants it for sponsorships and they want to be affiliated with something that’s the best,” raves Hennings. “You know, the best of breed, something that’s worldclass, something that no other municipality has. The Sunset Amphitheater going into McKinney will be the country’s, if not the world’s, premier outdoor music amphitheater.”

With 295 unique firepits, the new facility will also feature Owners Club suites, fine dining and drinks that will be way above the norm for a music venue, and landscaping that incorporates an advanced airflow system to mitigate the effects of the Texas heat. Sited on 46 acres currently owned by the McKinney Economic Development Corporation on the northeast side of U.S. Route 75 and State Highway 121—a major regional crossroad—it will, according to Fuller, serve as a “Gateway to McKinney.”

Left to Right: JW Roth, George Fuller the McKinney Mayor, Maher Maso, Chad Hennings Sunset Amphitheater in McKinney, TX. Rendered Image

Dedicated to Getting the Good Times Rolling


Raschen knows about building community within a crowd

AN AVID TAILGATER AT HIS ALMA MATER OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY, Raschen is also a longtime suite owner at Tulsa’s BOK Center, a 19,000-seat sports and event facility. These experiences help him understand how important such communal spaces are for maintaining business relationships and a region’s culture at large.

Which is why he jumped at the chance to acquire an 8-person front-row firepit at the new 12,500-seat Broken Arrow Notes Live Sunset Amphitheater.

“I love becoming friends with other suite holders and people who are there on a regular basis. I look forward to seeing them every concert,” Raschen says about his experience at the BOK Center. “And I really think that this Notes Lives venue will be more intimate because you’re so close and sharing the area with fellow suite owners. That’s what I keep telling all my friends.”

Raschen’s enthusiasm for and investment in the Tulsa area’s newest

venue are driven by his understanding of the region and how well the new Notes Live venue will fit into it.

“We don’t have a great outdoor facility. This is going to check a ton of boxes. I think our nearest good outdoor amphitheater is over in Fayetteville, Arkansas [over 100 miles away]. We have some legendary small places like Cain’s Ballroom that maybe holds 1,500 or so. And then you’ve got some of the casinos that hold 3,500. Then we jump up to the BOK Center at 19,000,” Raschen explains. “So, we really were kind of starved for that middle-size venue. I mean, outdoor events are a lot more fun than indoor generally—if the weather’s great. And I just think these guys are building it the right way, with the roof basically over a large part of it and planning for the seasonality of Tulsa.”

Another thing he’s enthusiastic about is the culinary side of his new investment—a unique angle when talking about a large performance venue.

Raschen's Bullet Bar & Grill trailer | Photo Credit: POSSE Magazine

“It sounds like Notes Live is going to have unbelievable food opportunities. I like so much of how they’re setting this up. They’re taking the mistakes other facilities make and learning. One of the things I don’t like about the BOK Center is you have to order everything in quantity,” Raschen reflects. “My particular suite holds 14. So, it’s everything’s in quantities of 14. Well, it’s hard to try to order food for 14 different people—most of the food gets wasted. I love that they’re going to basically have table service where you can order individual dinners. And it sounds like the Notes Live group has really good food options.”

“I really think that this Notes Lives venue will be more intimate because you’re so close and sharing the area with fellow suite owners. That’s what I keep telling all my friends.”

The culinary side of special events is near and dear to Raschen’s heart. His Bullet Bar & Grill trailer—a 24-foot BBQ and fan hub, complete with six big-screen TVs—has become a fixture at OSU football games in nearby Stillwater. It has played a significant part in growing the OSU pregame atmosphere, something that was dormant as recently as two decades ago.

“I’ve got season tickets for a lot of different sports. We have a big tailgate trailer for every football game. And then we do some baseball games, softball games, wrestling. It’s the whole social aspect of it, getting people together. You know, all cheering for the same causes— for the Oklahoma State side of things. I think being able to enjoy these events with family and friends and customers is one of the better joys of my life right now,” he muses. “Anytime you’re going to a live event it’s going to be neat, especially if you have that tailgate atmosphere where everybody’s getting to know each other and having fun—it really doesn’t matter who you’re seeing.”

Owning a very successful business—

C4 Industrial, an equipment supplier— has shaped Raschen’s approach to public spaces. He uses suites to entertain clients. And specializing in all the gadgets that keep businesses in operation, along with a workforce that understands how they function, also means constructing a bespoke spectacle of a BBQ trailer from scratch is within the realm of the possible—and not just financially. His support for OSU sports entails more than just cheering on game day. He’s deeply involved in Pokes with a Purpose, a nonprofit in the rapidly evolving NIL (name, image, and likeness) space. NIL deals allow college athletes to monetize their on-field performance. It’s why a standout college athlete like Iowa’s Caitlin Clark is popping up on national State Farm commercials—with the NBA’s Jimmy Butler, retired player and announcer Reggie Miller, and the ever-present Jake— in ways unimaginable just a decade ago. Until recently, “amateurs” were precluded

from receiving such payments by NCAA regulations—but these have come under increasing legal challenge. Today every college with a significant sports program is having to recalibrate.

“Some friends of mine helped start it and asked me to be on the board. Since then, I’ve been the board president— real active in the fundraising side but not the administration of the contracts and all that stuff,” says Raschen. “I don’t think people realize how much goes into managing an NIL program for a university. It’s a constant job of trying to raise money to support the athletes. We have the nonprofit aspect of it where we have them do a lot of community service—to not only better themselves but the community as well. That’s pretty easy to get behind and it’s been rewarding.”

The many hats Raschen wears in and around Oklahoma have made him pretty savvy about the world of live events. As Notes Live comes to town, it makes him ardent about what’s on the horizon.

“I’m excited about opening night. Can’t wait to find out who it’s going to be. I’m sure somebody great. Another selling feature for me is that Live Nation is partnering in this deal. I think that will help us get some really great concerts,” he says of Notes Live’s collaboration with the entertainment management company. “So, I’m kind of a big country guy. The Chris Stapleton’s of the world and, you know, Jelly Roll. Some of those guys I would like to see. I know the acts that have been announced for Colorado Springs [including OneRepublic, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Dierks Bentley, and The Beach Boys]—those are all people I’d love to see.”

Ed Raschen – Fire Pit Suite Owner at the Broken Arrow Sunset Amphitheater, OK



Mayor George Fuller of McKinney, Texas, personifies his town and region. He moved here in the 1980s for work, which doesn’t make him unique. The area has been one of the fastestgrowing parts of the United States for decades. He traveled the same road as millions.

SPRING 2024 ISSUE VENU Photo By: Cal & Aly

“I’ve been playing guitar most of my life. Started as a teenager. My wife and I met when she hired me to play in her band. We’ve been performing throughout Texas since”

What does make Fuller unique is his being the rock-and-roll mayor—a well-earned moniker representing a whole lot of living. Music has been pivotal to his life—as a professional guitar player, an entrepreneur, and a husband. And it still is. Overseeing his town—now a bustling small city— after a late-night gig is just another day at the office.

And in 2026, Fuller will welcome a Notes Live amphitheater to town.

A Life That Music Built

“So, I’ve been playing guitar most of my life. Started as a teenager. My wife and I met when she hired me to play in her band. We’ve been performing throughout Texas since and in a number of different countries, performers together, writing music for a whole life,” he says about his partner Maylee ThomasFuller. “And I spent 20 years with Clarence Clemons, the sax player for Bruce Springsteen’s band. We recorded and performed a lot while he was in and out of E Street Band.”

Fuller makes no bones about the importance of his wife’s passions, both as the boss of the Maylee Thomas Band and founder of the nonprofit that first brought him into public service.

“We’ve been really involved in the community. We have the Love Life Foundation that was started 31 years ago at a grassroots level to advocate for and benefit at-risk women and children,” he explains. “So, we’ve been involved that way before being mayor. And then, of course, as performers that have been working in this region and beyond during that same period of time, we’ve just been very, very ingrained in the community. And now, as mayor and a builder and a developer and a guitar store owner, we’re just … we’re involved.”

The course of Fuller’s life, including his political career, is deeply rooted in getting that gig in Maylee’s blues-based band. Now long entrenched on the Texas circuit, Fuller provides the kind of hard-driving guitar licks to be expected from someone mentioning Stevie Ray Vaughan and Eric Clapton as influences. And the more things change, the more they stay the

Mayor George Fuller of McKinney Texas VENU SPRING 2024 ISSUE Photo By: Cal & Aly

same. Only a few months ago Notes Live’s journey to McKinney began when Maylee brought the inaugural issue of VENU magazine to the attention of her husband/guitar player/mayor.

“Oddly, I first heard of Notes Live when my wife brought me a magazine with J.W. on the cover. She said, ‘Man, look at what they’re doing. This is really cool. You need to get this in McKinney.’ And I said, ‘Yeah, that looks great,’” remembers Fuller. “I subsequently had some conversations with Maher Maso [the former mayor of neighboring Frisco] and he told me they were looking in this area. I said, ‘Well, McKinney’s got to be the place.’ And he absolutely knew that McKinney was a viable target market. So, he set up that first meeting. From my standpoint, we were making this happen one way or the other. But I think she takes credit just because she showed me that article.”


The new home for another Notes Live amphitheater isn’t the town it used to be. In 1980, about 16,000 people lived in McKinney—and now nearly 215,000.

“It’s been a wild ride. I remember the restaurants— the fanciest one was called Steak Kountry with a K— and there was a Burger King. That was about it. But it’s quite a large city now. I like to refer to Dallas as one of our suburbs,” Fuller jokes about the population boom that has swept over the Dallas-Fort Worth region.



“I moved to Dallas in ‘86. I was opening a business I had started— first opened on the East Coast, Harrisburg Pennsylvania, Roanoke Virginia—and then I came to Texas. Automotive heating and cooling parts warehouses, hiring salespeople, and training managers. And then I planned on leaving. I was going to be here three weeks. But I had a hard time staffing,” he recalls before telling the rest of the story. “She [Maylee] came here to be closer to her father and pursue her music. I’d started putting the word out to find some musicians and started jamming. All of a sudden I had a band. What was supposed to be three months was then a year. And now, here I am—in 2024. My wife and I met when she hired me to play in her band and we ended up dating. One of her dear friends lived in McKinney and we ended up getting married at their home.”



Top Image: George Fuller and his wife, Maylee. have performed together for over 30 years Photo Credit: Cal & Aly Bottom: Fuller with the Maylee Thomas Band in 1991
“We pride ourselves on really being a community that does things right–or we don't do them. There's a lot of emphasis, and always has been in this area, on the arts. Music venues are a big part of that around here.”

Miles and Miles of Texas

That was the beginning of setting down roots that eventually grew into raising four kids, founding the George C. Fuller Contracting construction firm, and opening several other businesses—including labor of love The Guitar Sanctuary—while hitting the road and playing lots of gigs. And then getting elected mayor in 2017 (and reelected in 2021).

Historically, McKinney was a dusty town that began to take off when the Houston and Texas Central Railroad was routed through in 1872. It became a cotton processing and agricultural distribution hub soon thereafter. A new courthouse went up in 1876 that was, for a time, the tallest building in the state north of San Antonio. On opening night it hosted a dance party that went into the wee hours and featured the waltzing dance hit “The Blue Danube.” McKinney’s music thing goes back a long way.

Today, the remnants of that bustling community comprise the historic downtown of two-story commercial brick buildings and Beaux Arts and Second Empire architectural gems that could be the backdrop of a Larry McMurtry novel or Willie Nelson song. This charming core was the magnet that first attracted the suburban development flowing north a century after the railroad came to town—and it continues to be a pivotal aspect of economic development.

When George Fuller wanted to get on Notes Live radar, he knew who to call—the guy next door. Now a principal at the international consulting firm Ryan LLC, Maher Maso was mayor of neighboring Frisco from 2008 to 2017.

Fuller knew that, during Maso’s tenure, the Dallas Cowboys’ built The Star in Frisco, now the team’s world headquarters and training facility. He’s an old hand at big development projects.

“Mayor Fuller is a good friend and he’s a great leader. It’s going to be at the gateway to the city and be an icon. The performances it will bring are going to be regional and national in nature. Every city desires that kind of tourism component. And frankly, Notes Live will add to the entire North Dallas area. We’re known for destinations—AT&T Stadium for the Cowboys and Toyota Stadium where FC Dallas plays. This will be one more reason to travel to North Texas. The entire metroplex will embrace them and work with them. McKinney is the driver here—they recognize this and are stepping up to get it done. But I think everybody is going to benefit. That’s what we usually see out here.”

The 20,000 seat Sunset Amphitheater in McKinney, TX. Rendered Image MCKINNEY MAYORGEORGE FULLER
George Fuller - Mayor of McKinney, TX

“We pride ourselves on really being a community that does things right—or we don’t do them. There’s a lot of emphasis, and always has been in this area, on the arts. Music venues are a big part of that around here. This community appreciates music,” Fuller states. “When I got elected, I said ‘Let’s become a music-friendly city, let’s become a culture arts district in the state. Let’s get our historic downtown, help vibrancy and venues and get the live music scene happening.’ And so, to be in the position now to be making that happen—to be part of the team making that happen—is awesome.”

The 20,000-seat Notes Live amphitheater will act as an amplifier for the already vibrant cultural scene anchored by the multi-use McKinney Performing Arts Center (MPAC)—which that tall courthouse transitioned to in 2005—and numerous nightspots, brewpubs, and gigs at the Sanctuary Music & Events Center sponsored by a certain mayor’s guitar shop. The new Notes Live venue will become a major hub— and a big welcome sign—for the local music scene.

“The area for the amphitheater, that’s the intersection of the Sam Rayburn Tollway (Highway 121) and the Central Expressway (Highway 75). An absolute gateway to our city. You’ve got McKinney on the north side of that intersection, both east and west of 75, but then Allen to the south. You’re quickly bordering Plano beyond that and Fairview a little farther to the East,” explains Fuller. “I like the fact that it is a gateway to our city while, at the same time, being accessible by all these other communities. It’ll become the gateway to McKinney, Texas.”

This fits into the strategy of finding ways to put McKinney on the map, which is an ongoing challenge for any municipality that is part of a growing metropolis. An example is the TPC Craig Ranch— located a few miles down the Rayburn—that is hosting the PGA’s CJ CUP Byron Nelson from 2021 to 2025. Nelson is one of golf’s greats, from the Dallas area, and the tournament in his honor brings a high-profile national event to town. But that’s just once a year.

“I think being such a flagship, Class A, best-ofclass facility really fits in with our community. This is the kind of venue that will have the kind of acts that will bring people from not just McKinney, but South Dallas, Oklahoma, those areas as well. From an economic perspective, we’ll see benefits. People staying in hotels and eating at restaurants—all of that,” declares Fuller. “It’s just great. It works harmoniously with the other businesses in the area. All of those things are synergistic and work with one another, support one another, and benefit one another.”

But for Fuller, bringing a world-class venue to town is about more than business. He’s been lucky enough to make a living at times playing music—but that’s not why he got into the business.

“Music brings community together, brings people together. It doesn’t matter what political or religious party you’re from, we can all appreciate music together. And it gives us something of commonality and something to bond with. And that’s important, especially today,” he muses. “We appreciate the project’s transcendental quality, especially as we live in such divisive times and whatnot. Anytime you

Sunset Amphitheater in McKinney, TX. Rendered Image

bring people together in a harmonious way, in a way that they’re enjoying something collectively. I’ll keep saying it now more than ever—in our world, in our country, we need that.”

Guitar Town

The new Notes Live facility will be a big musical magnet. It’ll join Fuller’s smaller—but renowned— drawing card, The Guitar Sanctuary.

“I always thought about opening a guitar store. But it’s tough when there are big box stores, which are a very, very different thing. I wanted to try to bring back that sense of community among musicians. Really focus on that aspect of it. Like a Cheers of music stores,” he recounts before explaining how his music career began.

“Music brings community together, brings people together. It doesn't matter what political or religious party you're from, we can all appreciate music together”
George Fuller - Mayor of McKinney, TX

This involved words of wisdom—really obvious ones—from the owner of a local shop in Vermont, where Fuller went to college.

“The owner’s name is Kevin Crossett. He’s a fantastic guitar and mandolin player. The first band I started was while I was in college. I was so ill-equipped to have a band that when I went into his store—where I had bought my first guitar a few weeks earlier—I went to Kevin and said, ‘I got us a gig!’ And of course,

him knowing I’ve been playing for about three weeks says, ‘That’s interesting, who’s in the band?’ I told him and he said, ‘Who’s playing bass?’ And I was like, ‘Do I need a bass player?’ He was like, ‘Listen grasshopper, they don’t need you but you need them.’”

The free advice paid off. Fuller told the McKinney Courier-Gazette in 2023 that what followed was “the worst performance any band probably ever played” but lots of fellow college students packed the bar nonetheless. A career was born. And when the 2008 financial crisis hit, he saw not just a business opportunity but a chance to create the kind of place that shaped his life.

“When I first moved to Texas it was independent stores. Then all of a sudden big box retail, right? Kind of sucked the soul out of the locally owned stores that were music communities. But because of the recession—because all of a sudden those big box retailers lacked leverage—I was able to open because I capitalized on that point in time,” says Fuller, explaining how he got significant guitar makers to push back against some of their larger clients and stock his shop in 2009. “And since then, we’re always in the top 10 or so PRS dealers, we’re a top Anderson dealer, we’re top Suhr dealer, we’re the top Mesa Boogie dealer. We’re hard and strong behind those lines, we’re passionate about them, and we do more business than some of those big stores do.”

In 2017, Guitar World stated: “The Guitar Sanctuary isn’t your typical guitar shop. From the outside, it looks like a museum—and the inside is simply incredible.”

Fuller and Andy Timmons | Photo Credit: Raine Fuller

Thank God for Hometowns

Another community Fuller helped build is the Love Life Foundation. It was in some ways his introduction to public service and, along with their band and family, another major collaboration with Maylee.

“So my wife—who is not afraid to talk about it— was sexually abused as a 14-year-old. She decided early on in life that she wasn’t going to be a victim, that she was going to take from that the strength that got her through that and try to help others who went through it. So, I think it was 1991—at that time we were just poor

“We work with the Children's Advocacy Center of Collin County, Genesis Women's Shelter, and the Samaritan Inn shelters.” Fuller on the Love Life Foundation

musicians—but we thought, you know what, there’s a family we heard about that was in need. We don’t have money, but we have music. We called on a bunch of our friends and put together a benefit concert. Raised enough money to do the things that they needed done in the home of this single mother. And it grew from there,” Fuller recounts. “By ‘94, we’re holding events at the Hard Rock Cafe and raising $120,000 in an evening. And here we are now, millions and millions of dollars later. At-risk women and children are our main focus. We work with the Children’s Advocacy

Center of Collin County, Genesis Women’s Shelter, and the Samaritan Inn shelters. My wife is a force of nature. I’m certainly involved, but she’s the force behind it. And her handful of volunteers—A.J. Mitcheletto, Jennifer Buschman, Lesa Perry, Lisa Hoff, and Jana Condren–there’s a core of people who have been working with the organization for dozens of years.”

One Fair Summer Evening

This sense of community—building it, maintaining it—is obviously at the core of Fuller’s philosophy of life and governing. He realized Notes Live fit right in immediately.

“It’s a great project. I’m all about people doing things because they’re passionate about it. That to me is far more motivating than just chasing a dollar. Obviously, gotta have the dollar to be able to pursue the passion, but what I love about J.W. and his team is it was immediately known to me that this is a guy that’s passionate about music,” says Fuller.

When asked who he would like to see play at his town’s new outdoor venue—as the dearly departed Texas songstress Nanci Griffith would put it “one fair summer evening”—it’s not a tough question.

“I wanna see the Maylee Thomas Band!

With the obvious answer out of the way, he continues.

“My favorite guitar player right now is Andy Timmons, who happens to live in McKinney. But he’s a world-renowned player. And I’m a huge Chris Stapleton fan,” Fuller enthuses before doing what music people always do, talking about that act about to break out. “I’ll tell you another up-and-coming band—actually, I think they’ve passed up and coming and they’re just prior to global explosion—is the Red Clay Strays. Eight months ago, I could see them in a small venue. Now they’re selling out 2,500 seats.”

By the time McKinney’s new musical community space is built, the Strays may be big enough to fill it.

Photo Credit: Cal & Aly



The Western performance industry thrives in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma, both historically and during recent years of skyrocketing success.

ACURBED, CONCRETE DRIVEWAY WINDS BETWEEN TWO GREEN HORSE PASTURES, leading to an impressive metal building. Its stone porte cochère, spacious enough for four dually pickups, shades visitors as they step from their vehicles and enter through wooden, double doors. Trophies line the walls of the foyer, and high-dollar reining horses peer from stalls running left and right.

Another door leads to a high-ceiling room with more trophies, ribbons and photographs, and eight picture windows offer an unobstructed view of a 200-by-300foot covered arena. It’s not uncommon for 10 to 15 riders to fill the arena at times, working on their horses’ spins, lead changes and sliding stops. The facility for Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses, located five miles west of Aubrey, Texas, houses some of the best show horses, breeding stallions and horse trainers in the industry.

“As a kid I always dreamed about having a big, fancy place,” says Tom McCutcheon, who owns and operates the facility with his wife, Mandy, son, Cade, and daughter, Carlee. “We make our money in the horse business. We didn’t make money somewhere else and just decide to do this as a hobby. So, we have to run it as best as we can, but still make the budget work. Our business is based off of winning horse shows and selling horses.”

Across the Red River and 60 miles to the north, James Payne guides a horse into a herd of cattle in his outdoor round pen. He separates one cow, and his young cutting horse goes to work, darting left and right to keep the cow from returning to the herd. The Overbrook, Oklahoma, trainer moved to the area in 1996, a West Texas teenager with limited showing experience but plenty of work ethic. He has since won more than $5 million in cutting events and remains a leading rider in a highly competitive sport. He works six or seven days a week, rides between 45 and 50 horses a day, travels to multiday cutting horse shows every three weeks or so, and wouldn’t have it any other way.


“We make our money in the horse business. We didn’t make money somewhere else and just decide to do this as a hobby. So, we have to run it as best as we can, but still make the budget work. Our business is based off of winning horse shows and selling horses.”

Tom McCutcheon of Aubrey, Texas Main Image: The pastures at Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses in Aubrey, Texas, hold hundreds of horses, including young reining prospects. Inset: Tom McCutcheon moved from Wisconsin to North Texas. He has won more than $2 million in reining competition, operates a top breeding facility, and sells scores of elite reining horses every year.

“I love horses and I love training them,” he says. “But in this business, once you quit grinding, you’re going to fall off. You just keep working. Your quest is to stay competitive.”

One hundred fifty miles to the southwest, Jeremy Barwick walks through the barn aisles of Brazos Valley Stallion Station. He and his wife, Candace, own the breeding operation located east of Stephenville, Texas. Their 400-acre facility stands around 30 stallions, owned by clients from all over the nation, and with those stallions it services approximately 5,000 mares each year, mostly through artificial insemination.

“I like the breeding aspect of this business because I like crossing mares on different studs and seeing what works,” Barwick says. “I get to see the foals born, maybe go through the sale ring, and come back to compete in the show pen.”

Barwick, Payne and McCutcheon represent various facets of the Western performance horse industry built upon hefty show purses, advanced horsemanship, elite bloodlines, lucrative sales and state-of-the-art veterinary care. Like many successful breeders, trainers and veterinarians, they are based in the North Texas and Southern Oklahoma region because that’s where the industry thrives. The area is home to an immeasurable amount of horse events, including barrel racing, roping and rodeos. However, cutting and reining contests have historically featured the largest payouts (with the exception of horse racing).

Why is such a large percentage of the Western performance horse industry based in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma? The region’s climate and cowboy culture factor heavily, but the origins trace to the burgeoning beef and oil industries of the early 20th Century.

Industry Origins

Coming out of the Civil War, Texas’ most valuable resource was free-roaming Longhorn cattle, and that supply sparked the Great Trail Drive Era. For years, cowboys drove cattle from South Texas to rail stations in Nebraska and Kansas. By the 1880s, railroads had made their way to Oklahoma and Texas. Both Oklahoma City and Fort Worth built massive stockyards, established themselves as major hubs for the beef industry, and cultivated a legitimate, deep-seeded cowboy culture.

Soon, livestock expositions grew in popularity throughout the nation, with ranchers and breeders enthused to show off the quality of their stock, whether it was cattle, sheep, hogs or horses. The trend didn’t exclude Oklahoma and Texas. The inaugural Texas State Fair was held in 1886, followed 10 years later by the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show (today the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo). The first Oklahoma State Fair took place in Oklahoma City in 1907.

Livestock expositions played a pivotal role in developing the horse show industry. For example, the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth hosted the first recorded arena cutting contest in 1919. In 1940, it was the setting for the founding of the American

Quarter Horse Association, and a year later the new stock horse breed awarded Registration No. 1 to the Stock Show’s grand champion, Wimpy.

The Gusher Age of the early 20th Century gave the horse industry another significant boost. As oil fields sprang up throughout Oklahoma and Texas, the exorbitant amount of wealth flowed into the horse industry, funding breeding programs, financing horse shows and elevating the value of horses.

Meanwhile, cutting contests had grown so popular that in 1946 a group of ranchers and cowboys met to establish the National Cutting Horse Association. Their first meeting took place during the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show. By 1963, the organization’s number of sanctioned events reached 727. More significantly, it hosted its first Futurity in 1962, which was limited to 3-year-old horses and paid out $23,225 in prize money.

The Futurity concept worked similar to what had been established in the racehorse business. Offering large purses to a limited age of young horses incentivized breeding programs, increased the prospects of winning for more owners, and raised the bar for horse trainers.

Today, the NCHA Futurity, which has been held in Fort Worth’s Will Rogers Coliseum for six decades, has grown exponentially. In December, the 2023 event boasted a total purse of $5.5 million and featured 890 horses. Oklahoma trainer Wesley Galyean

Left Image: James Payne of Overbrook, Oklahoma, shows Ooh La La at the NCHA Futurity last December. The even paid out $5.5 million. Middle: A reining horse rehabs on the underwater treadmill at Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses. Right: In addition to premiere events and elaborate training facilities, North Texas and Southern Oklahoma are filled with ranches that breed well-bred mares and raise promising foals.

showed Lone Woolf to the championship, winning $318,649.

Four years after NCHA hosted its first Futurity, the National Reining Horse Association was founded in Ohio, with its Futurity for 3-year-olds held in Columbus. Within 20 years, the event was paying out $100,000 to first place and gaining international popularity. In 1986, the NRHA moved its Futurity to Oklahoma City.

“That’s the greatest thing that ever happened to the reining industry,” says legendary reiner Bob Loomis of Marietta, Oklahoma, who served on the board of directors at the time. “I had already moved from Nebraska to Oklahoma, and a lot of other reiners liked this area. It’s always been a hotbed for horse activity, and the weather is so much better. NRHA was growing so fast, and we needed a bigger facility. Oklahoma City was a natural fit.”

Last December, the NRHA Futurity paid out nearly $2.9 million. The open champion, Brian Bell and Crystalized Whizkey, won $350,000.

Southern Migration

The same year that the NRHA Futurity moved from Ohio to Oklahoma, Susie Reed moved from Ohio to Texas. She has always made her living breeding, raising and selling cutting horses, and moving south was as logical for her as it was for NRHA.

“The weather [in Ohio] was intolerable,” she recalls. “There would be winters when I spent four months breaking ice [in water troughs] all day. We had a blizzard in 1985, and my [now] ex-husband said, ‘That’s it.

I can’t do this anymore.’ We had already been driving to Texas almost every month to buy a horse or sell some. So, we moved to Bellevue, Texas, and we came because of the business and the weather.”

Reed now lives in Marietta, Oklahoma, and manages the Marketplace at Ardmore horse auction. She has been joined by a long list of trainers, breeders and horse traders who have moved from northern climates to North Texas or Southern Oklahoma. McCutcheon is a good example. He relocated to North Texas about 30 years ago.

“Growing up in Wisconsin, it always looked to me like this is where you had to be,” McCutcheon says. “All the big stuff was happening down here, especially around Aubrey and Pilot Point. We’ve always said that we could sell more horses in Texas by accident than we could on purpose in Wisconsin. And that’s the truth. We have a lot of walk-ins here. It’s kind of like the shopping mall theory. You can fly into DFW airport and go to 15 different places to look at reining horses.”

McCutcheon’s 160-acre facility operates as a training facility, breeding operation and marketplace for anyone looking to buy a reining horse. The place houses about 300 horses, from show horses to stallions, mares, foals, yearlings and show prospects in training. While many of them are owned by clients, plenty belong to the McCutcheons—for now.

“We do a lot of trading and selling,” McCutcheon says. “I like to do that, and so does my son. Between Cade and me, we probably own 100 of our own. Some of

them we might have for only a few days. We like to keep them moving.”

The market for horses has been lively for many years, but horse industry experts agree that it’s stronger than ever, whether sales take place through private treaty or via public auction. In 2020, a 2-year-old cutting mare named Wood She B Magic broke records by selling for $1.05 million. It happened during a select auction at the NCHA Futurity. The annual sale, produced by Western Bloodstock, regularly sells 2-year-olds for more than $300,000, and it also offers stallions, broodmares and yearlings, many of them bringing six-figure bids.

Barwick, who in addition to Brazos Valley Stallion Station owns Western Bloodstock, says prices are being driven by premiere events and incentive funds offered through individual stallions, auction companies and other programs. He points to the National Reined Cow Horse Association’s Snaffle Bit Futurity, which moved from Reno, Nevada, to Fort Worth in 2017. The 2023 event champion, Corey Cushing and ReysmHigh, won $200,000, plus another $49,000 in incentives. It’s yet another event in the area that is boosting the market for horses.

“With the amount of money that a horse can win today at different futurities, plus so many incentive programs that pay certain offspring to compete, it’s just crazy how much more money there is compared to just five or six years ago,” he says. “The NCHA Futurity sale that we do is our biggest, and the sale we have at the NRCHA Snaffle Bit Futurity is another big one. It has grown every single year.”

Spare No Expense

Justin High, DVM, reviews multiple radiographs of a young mare’s back legs with a client at Reata Equine Hospital in Weatherford, Texas. The well-bred 2-year-old mare hasn’t had any issues with her back pasterns, hocks or stifles, but her owner wants to make sure everything is sound before she begins training for cutting competition.

“He spent $1,200 on a set of x-rays, just to make sure his horse was good,” Dr. High says. “There are a lot of people who would just go ride her. But in this area, there are

Left Image: Justin High, DVM, of Reata Equine Hospital in Weatherford, Texas, specializes in sports medicine treatments for high-end performance horses. Right: Will Rogers Coliseum is home to a number of premier events, including the World’s Greatest Horseman. Sanctioned by the National Reined Cow Horse Association, it was won by Phillip Ralls and Call Me Mitch in 2023, and the pair earned $150,000 for the title.

of $100,000,” he says. “The competition has gotten way stouter. And once owners spend that kind of money on a horse, then their mentality is to spare no expense to keep their horse comfortable and working good.”

Sweet Spot

a lot of wealthy owners spending money on these horses—training, showing and breeding them—trying to build programs. They’re smart people, and they look at these horses as an investment. But they put so much time, effort, care and thought into them, they’re just as much a family member as they are an investment. When you can combine those two factors, you can see how the horse industry has grown phenomenally, especially in the last five to seven years.”

Reata Equine performs a wide range of treatments for high-end equine athletes. The veterinary hospital offers stem cell therapy, shockwave therapy, chiropractic care, diagnostic imaging, corrective shoeing, reproductive services and numerous surgeries.

Dr. High notes that Reata Equine is only one of many equine hospitals in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma that offers such advanced treatments. Outlaw Equine in Decatur, Texas, treats horses with laser therapy, ultrasound, saltwater chambers and a customized swimming pool. Equine Sports Medicine in Weatherford has a hyperbaric chamber that administers concentrated oxygen to equine athletes recovering from injury. Even many training facilities have invested in therapeutic technologies. For example, Tom McCutcheon Reining Horses uses a hydrotherapy spa and underwater treadmill.

Payne agrees with High that what drives the success of the horse industry is the expendable incomes and the emotional connections horse owners have with their animals.

“Nowadays, if you want a top-level horse, you’re going to spend way north

Payne, High, Barwick and many other equine professionals observe how the horse business has skyrocketed in the last few years. They point to two factors: increased exposure and the COVID pandemic.

“I think COVID sped up business because people were sitting around, figuring out what they were going to do with their money,” High says. “They just poured it into horses. The clinic was always busy, but from COVID on it has been abnormally busy. And it hasn’t slowed down.”

Casey Deary, a reining trainer who has won more than $4 million and claimed the NRHA Futurity championship three times, also noticed an uptick in business during the pandemic.

“Everything was closed, so you could only do things that were outside sports,” says Deary, based in Weatherford, Texas. “People thought, ‘Man this is great. I can get out and ride, and I’m not trapped in my house.’

“And then my insurance agent, who is a reiner, said, ‘I know so many people that have worked hard to save money and have a cushion, and now all of a sudden there’s a good chance they could get COVID and die.’ So, they started spending what they had, thinking about living today instead of saving for tomorrow, because they’re not promised tomorrow.”

The sports of cutting, reining and reined cow horse have also attracted increased exposure in recent years, thanks to coverage by television outlets RFD-TV and the Cowboy Channel. In addition, hit shows such as “Yellowstone” and “The Last Cowboy” have placed performance horse events in an even bigger spotlight.

Likewise, an event dubbed The American Performance Horseman, which debuted in March of 2023, has introduced performance horses to a larger audience. Produced by Teton Ridge and held in conjunction with The American championship rodeo, it matches up the top five trainers in cutting, reining and reined cow horse to compete as teams. Held in Arlington, Texas, at Globe Life Field, home of Major League Baseball franchise the Texas Rangers, the show attracted nearly 18,000 spectators its first year. This year, it was televised on Fox Sports.

“Anytime you have that many people in the stands, you’re going to expose this industry to people that have never seen it,” says Deary, who claimed the inaugural reining title and won $100,000. “And now it’s on Fox Sports. Getting in front so many viewers, there’s no way this industry can’t continue to grow.”

The bright lights, television cameras and big dollar signs certainly make performance horse events more attractive. But industry professionals point out that the biggest draw is the horses and the Western lifestyle.

“Basically, I’m in the entertainment business,” Payne says. “It’s a recreation for people, albeit with money, to come and have a good time. So, I train and create a product or a service so they can show and, for a lack of a better term, play cowboy. And for me, I get to raise my kids in an agricultural atmosphere. This is a good support structure for family.”

High adds that his fulfillment comes from working with talented horses and owners who care about their welfare.

“Horses are very similar to people because they’re all a little bit different,” High says. “They are different in pain tolerance, work ethic and how easy they are to get along with. There are a lot that will give it their all and never complain. If they get hurt trying to do what you ask them to do, I think we’ve got a big obligation to do the best we can for them. When I can combine working for great horses and great people, man, that’s the sweet spot.”

Left Image: Casey Deary and Mr Abracadabra perform a sliding stop at his training facility near Weatherford, Texas. Right: Andrew Waters, originally from Australia, works as the stallion manager for Brazos Valley Stallion Station. Mare owners pay $4,000 to breed to BadBoonaRising (left), and $6,000 for Metallic Rebel (right).

Colorado Has Sprung

OneRepublic, The Beach Boys, Robert Plant, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd and More

Lined Up for the Inaugural Season at New Sunset Amphitheater in Colorado Springs.


Just months away from opening its first Sunset Amphitheater in August 2024, OneRepublic is set to perform the first three inaugural shows at the luxury venue, including opening night August 9 along with August 10 and 11 to commemorate its grand opening,

The shows at the Sunset Amphitheater in Colorado Springs will mark OneRepublic’s first North American dates in 2024, following the band’s series of concerts in Asia and the Middle East earlier in the year. Colorado Springs is the hometown of OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder, who has written and produced everyone from Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney, U2, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Adele, Ed Sheeran, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé, Rihanna, Carrie Underwood, and Lady Gaga, among many others.

the Top Gun: Maverick soundtrack and more along with their fifth album, Human, in 2021.

“Ryan is from Colorado Springs so for him to come back for the first time in all of his career and have it a madhouse with people buying tickets is special,” says Notes Live founder, chairman and CEO, JW Roth, who said the band’s first show at the Sunset Amphitheater sold out in under eight minutes.

Along with OneRepublic—featuring Tedder and Filkins, rhythm guitarist Drew Brown, bassist Brent Kutzle, drummer Eddie Fisher, and keyboardist Brian Willett—the new amphitheater, located in the north side of the city, southeast of Interstate 25 and North Gate Boulevard, already has a long line of legendary and contemporary artists booked for its debut season in 2024.

“The Colorado Springs amphitheater offers concert goers views of the majestic Pikes Peak, the inspiration behind the patriotic anthem "America the Beautiful”
JW Roth – Notes Live Founder, Chairman, and CEO

Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Tedder grew up in Colorado Springs, where he later met OneRepublic bandmate lead guitarist Zach Filkins in high school in 1996. By 2007, the band released their debut Dreaming Out Loud along with a line of hits, including “If I Lose Myself,” "Apologize," "Counting Stars,” ”Stop and Stare,” and “I Ain’t Worried” from

“At the end of the day, our business is about putting butts in seats,” says Roth. “And while you do all of these things, to build these venues and to put great artists on the stage, until you know that people are actually going to pay these prices, and buy tickets— you don’t know. But we sold our first show out in just under eight minutes, and the second show we put up [sold out] in under four minutes.”

The Colorado Springs amphitheater will also welcome The Beach Boys, for one of the group’s final performances of their career, along with Steve Miller Band, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Dierks Bentley, Primus, and many more in 2024. During a


typical season, the venue will host more than 40 shows from May through September.

“I'm a classic rock guy from the bottom of my feet to the top of my head,” says Roth of some of the shows he’s looking forward to booking, and seeing, at the venue.

The 8,000-capacity Sunset Amphitheater will deliver a concert-going experience unlike anything in the Colorado Springs market, featuring premium food and beverage and more than 90 over-the-top fire pit suites, which sold out in a record 22 weeks, along with state-of-the-art audio and visuals, and more within the luxury space.

“We're going to sell experience,” says Roth of the amphitheaters, which he has likened to the Ritz Carlton of concert venues. Each destination is unique to its locale with the Colorado Springs amphitheater offering concert goers views of the majestic Pikes Peak, the inspiration behind author and poet Katharine Lee Bates’ patriotic anthem “America the Beautiful.”

“We’re going to sell ambiance,” Roth adds. “We’re going to sell high-end food and beverage. We're going to upgrade the premium-ness of your ticket. No one's done it in outdoor music yet. We're the first to do this. People are going to pay for experience. They’re going to pay for ambiance.”

Prior to the summer 2024 opening within the $90,000,000 entertainment campus in Colorado Springs, which features several other venues, Notes Live is also on its way to marking another milestone by becoming a public company. “By our first show in Colorado Springs this summer,” says Roth, “we'll be trading on the New York Stock Exchange.”

To commemorate the first three concerts at the new amphitheater, along with OneRepublic’s shows, Notes Live and






operating partner, AEG Presents, are laying the groundwork for a spectacular grand opening extravaganza throughout the Colorado Springs entertainment campus, encompassing venues like the Boot Barn Hall, the Bourbon Brothers Smokehouse & Tavern, and the Notes Live Music and Social Bar. “There'll be a lot of fun getting this thing launched,” says Roth.

Along with the forthcoming opening Colorado Springs opening, additional Sunset Amphitheaters are in works with venues set to open in Dallas Forth Worth, Texas, Broken Arrow and Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and Murfreesboro, Tennessee, by 2025. By the end of 2025, Notes Live plans to operate six premium concert venues, which will attract more than 2,000,000 visitors annually and upward of 3,000,000 by 2026.

“Live music is where my passion is, and I want to be a disruptor in that space,” says Roth. “And that's exactly what we're doing.”






Our $90-million open-air amphitheater, with a capacity of 8,000 people, is opening on August 9th with a performance by Colorado Springs' own OneRepublic GET READY FOR A SUMMER FILLED WITH MAJOR TOURING ARTISTS



Revving Up the Auction Block:

The Thrilling Rise of Collector Car Auctions Across Eras and Brands

In the world of automotive enthusiasts, the thrill of witnessing a classic beauty or a powerful machine go under the hammer has become an exhilarating phenomenon.

Collector car auctions have evolved from niche events to grand spectacles, attracting enthusiasts, investors, and luxury car aficionados alike from around the globe.


AFTER EXPERIENCING BARRETT-JACKSON FIRSTHAND ON THREE OCCASIONS, I can attest that standing just outside the main auction block and witnessing the row of cars lined up is truly exhilarating. From the captivating sounds of roaring motors to the nostalgic smells of carbureted classics, particularly emanating from the 60's and 70's muscle cars, there's nothing quite like witnessing a world-class lineup in person to ignite one's sense of excitement and adrenaline.

Mecum Auctions, a dominant force in the industry, made headlines this January with the sale of 42 Ferraris at their Kissimmee event. Among them, a 1963 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder fetched a record-breaking $17,875,000. Televised since 2008, Mecum Auctions shattered previous records in 2023, raking in a total of $234 million in sales at their Kissimmee auction.

The fascinating rise of collector car auctions encompass not only traditional players like muscle cars and vintage gems, popularized on television with the coverage of the BarrettJackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, but also the newfound glamour brought by luxury brands such as Lamborghini and Ferrari. President Donald Trump’s 1997 Lamborghini Diablo VT roadster for example just fetched a record $1.1 million this year at Barrett-Jackson. Celebrity ownership and an allegedly one-ofone configuration were contributing factors to help this piece of automotive history cross the seven-figure mark.

The Classic Allure of Muscle Cars

The roots of collector car auctions trace back to the allure of muscle cars. Iconic American models like the Ford Mustang,

Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Charger have always held a special place in the hearts of collectors. These vehicles, born in the 1960s and 1970s, represent an era of raw power and bold design that continues to captivate enthusiasts today.

VENU recently visited acclaimed auto enthusiast, collector, and celebrity Bill Goldberg at his Hill Country residence, where he kindly opened the “garage” doors to his personal collection housing over 50 rare and collectible cars in his new, state-of-the-art automotive mayhem fittingly titled GOLDBER’S GARAGE. Known to most fans simply as "Goldberg," he is a renowned American professional wrestler and actor who is deeply passionate about this hobby. “My life is an absolute honor because as a kid I wanted to acquire these cars because they were an extension of my personality. Every car has a story and I love to share their stories weekly on my YouTube channel Goldberg’s Garage. Documenting what Jackson, my mechanic, and I work on is fun, and why not document it. People enjoy cars and people enjoy cool stuff, and I’d say we’ve got a little bit of all that underneath this roof.”

Goldberg certainly does have some “cool stuff” in his collection of incredible American iron and modern neck snappers. A few of the garage highlights include his 1970 triple black Coronet RT 440 Six Pack, his ’68 GTX hardtop 440, ’68 convertible GTX and ’69 HEMI four-speed Dodge Charger, just to name a few. Oh, and don’t forget the little black cobra in the corner, donning a behemoth Nascar motor, all of which was currently in pieces for a full frame-

Main Image: Mercedes Gullwing300 | Photo Credit: Karissa Hosek/RM Sotheby’s. Inset Images. Top Left: Barrett-Jackson auction Las Vegas | Photo Credit: Barrett-Jackson. Bottom Left: Ferrari 2004 Enzo | Photo Credit: Mecum Auctions. Top & Bottom Right: Photo Credit: Barrett-Jackson THE RISE OF COLLECTOR CAR AUCTIONS

off restoration. “The cobra is scary! Of all the cars in here, it demands the most respect,” he says. “I worked hard for a long time to afford these cars. When you have setbacks, they mold you as a human and prepare you for what’s next. For me, this garage and these cars are my dream come true and the culmination of a lot of hard work,” he concludes.

Goldberg had just arrived back home when we met up after a historical sale at Barrett-Jackson Scottsdale of his matching VIN muscle car pair. Sold as a lot were his two Dodge SRT Demons, (2018 and 2023) including the Limited Edition 2023 Demon 170 flaunting over 1,000 horsepower factory HEMI engine.

“My life is an absolute honor because as a kid I wanted to acquire these cars because they were an extension of my personality. Every car has a story and I love to share their stories weekly on my YouTube channel Goldberg’s Garage”
Bill Goldberg – professional wrestler and actor

While muscle cars represent brute power, vintage cars exude elegance and timeless beauty. Classic automobiles from the early to mid-20th century, such as the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, the Jaguar E-Type, and the MercedesBenz 300SL, have become prized possessions for collectors. The craftsmanship, design, and historical significance of vintage cars make them sought-after treasures. Arguably one of the most beautiful cars ever designed, a rare 1955 Mercedes Gullwing fetched a record-breaking $6.8 million at RM Sotheby’s Scottdale auction in early 2022.

“Both of these Dodge Demons have ‘blow your mind’ performance,” said Steve Davis, president of BarrettJackson, in a recent media release on “With a 0-60 in 1.66 seconds, the 2023 Demon 170 is such a powerhouse that its stock version was banned by the NHRA.”

But Goldberg isn’t just a Dodge collector and lifelong Mopar fan, he’s also an official spokesperson and ambassador for Dodge, and what an ambassador the “Mayor of Muscleville” makes.

Vintage Elegance and Timeless Beauty

Muscle car auctions have seen a surge in popularity, with rare models fetching astronomical prices. The appeal lies not only in the nostalgia associated with these vehicles that Goldberg spoke of, but also in their scarcity. As the years pass, well-preserved muscle cars become increasingly rare, driving up demand and auction values, especially for an original example.

The vintage car market has experienced a resurgence in recent years, fueled by a growing appreciation for craftsmanship and the unique stories behind each vehicle.

Auction houses dedicated to classic cars have thrived, providing a platform for buyers and sellers to engage in a passionate exchange of automotive history. Renowned collector car auction giants Bonhams and Gooding & Company host their yearly gatherings amidst some of America's most stunning locales, offering patrons a picturesque setting to admire meticulously crafted automotive treasures.

Page. Main Image: Ferrari Inset Image: Sammy Hagar and Craig Jackson Both Photos Credit: Barrett-Jackson

Luxury Brands Enter the Auction Arena

In a surprising turn of events, luxury brands have stepped onto the auction stage, bringing a new level of opulence to the collector car market. Traditionally, brands like Lamborghini and Ferrari produced limited edition models that were reserved for exclusive clientele. However, with the rise of collector car auctions, these brands have recognized an opportunity to showcase their creations to a broader audience.

The iconic 1988 movie "Rain Man" commenced with a memorable scene featuring Tom Cruise as Charlie Babbitt, overseeing a tantalizing delivery of Lamborghini Countach cars. The 1980s heralded a new era for American buyers, as the Countach lept off bedroom walls and lived in only the dreams of countless young boys (including myself). The race was on, along with the surge in demand for ultra-luxury exotic cars, and the very public sale of Lamborghini to Chrysler for $25.2 million on April 23, 1987.

Lamborghini, known for its bold and futuristic designs, has made waves in the auction world. Limited edition models like the Lamborghini Centenario and the Sián have become hot commodities, with collectors vying for a chance to own a piece of automotive extravagance.

Renowned for its velocity and grace, Ferrari has ventured into the auction realm, presenting legendary models such as the LaFerrari and the 250 GTO for bidding. At the Mecum Kissimmee 2024 auction, a 2004 Ferrari Enzo and a 1992 Ferrari F40 collectively garnered $7,920,000, securing the second and

showcases of rare and historic vehicles, expert panels discussing automotive trends, and even opportunities for test drives of select models. The goal is to create an environment where enthusiasts can not only bid on their dream cars but also immerse themselves in the rich tapestry of automotive history, and purchase anything from garage storage systems to even a private airplane.

The Future of Collector Car Auctions

As we look ahead, the future of collector car auctions appears to be as dynamic as ever. The market is expanding beyond traditional categories, welcoming new players like electric and hybrid vehicles into the fold. In 2022 a new GMC Hummer EV Edition 1 Pickup sold for $324,500 at Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas marking the significance of this new category of collector car. The emergence of technologydriven platforms has also made it easier for enthusiasts to participate in auctions from the comfort of their homes, further democratizing the collector car experience.

In a recent CARCAST podcast with host Adam Carolla, Craig Jackson, Chairman and CEO of the Barrett-Jackson Auction Company talked about the research he conducted to learn about what the customers wanted. “When my brother passed away in 1995, I sent out a questionnaire to all of our customers, and I sat and read every one of them.” What he found was that his customers wanted to be entertained, wanted an environment where their wives would be entertained, and a place with better food and

third positions among the top ten cars sold that week.

The allure of luxury brand auctions lies not only in the prestige associated with these names but also in the exclusivity of the models. Collectors are drawn to the idea of owning a piece of automotive art that encapsulates the essence of a particular brand's innovation and craftsmanship.

The Auction Experience: Beyond Bidding

Attending a collector car auction is more than just a financial transaction; it's an immersive experience that caters to the senses of enthusiasts. The atmosphere at these events is electric, with the roar of engines, the gleam of polished chrome, and the anticipation of high-stakes bidding creating a heady mix.

Auction houses have recognized the need to provide a holistic experience for attendees. Events often include

beverage choices. Barrett-Jackson has achieved exactly that, and I highly recommend attending one of their events to experience this phenomenon firsthand. However, be prepared – if you intend to bid, make sure to bring a substantial checkbook!

In conclusion, the rise of collector car auctions reflects the enduring passion for automotive history and craftsmanship. From the brawny muscle cars of yesteryear to the sophisticated luxury models of today, these auctions serve as a stage where enthusiasts can celebrate the artistry and innovation that define the world of automobiles. Whether you're a seasoned collector or a casual admirer, the allure of the auction block is an undeniable force that continues to rev the engines of automotive enthusiasts worldwide.

Photo Credit:
Auctions and Barrett-Jackson
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A Keen Eye for the Good— and Valuable—Things in Life

Milton Robson is a man who knows what he likes. Among other things, that includes country music, nice cars, and good investments

When asked if his being a Notes Live investor was driven more by his personal connection to the music campus that opened last year in his hometown of Gainesville, Georgia, or if he just saw an investment opportunity, it didn’t take Robson long to answer.

“I always look for ROI.”

Not that he doesn’t appreciate what the Boot Barn Hall at Bourbon Brothers has meant for Gainesville.

“They built one here. Right across the street from a property I own. Got to know them. It’s doing real good. We’re lucky to have ‘em in town. I bought some stock after going out to Colorado Springs to see how things were going. That’s gonna be nice,” Robson explains in his rich Southern drawl about his reaction to the soon-to-open Sunset Amphitheater that is joining the first Boot Barn Hall at Bourbon Brothers (Gainesville’s is the second).

Robson’s been in business a long time and has learned more than a few things about growing a brand. He began working as a teenager, selling chicken out of an El Camino. A natural entrepreneur, he founded a food distribution company in 1962 that eventually grew into Milton’s Institutional Foods. In 1995, it was acquired by the Performance Food Group (PFG)—one of the largest distributors in the United States—for a hefty sum and became PFG-Milton's.


Along with growing a company, another passion Robson pursued was collecting cars. As he told the Gainesville Times, selling his original business left him plenty of time and money to “piddle with ranching, cars, and real estate.”

“Never before has a collection of mid-century American Muscle been offered and achieved such consistently extraordinary results.”

“I’ve always been a car nut. Had some money, started buying cars. Gotta have something to do,” he recounts matter-of-factly.

What he ended up doing was a little more than piddling. Robson built one of the country’s most significant automobile collections, worth basically a fortune. He’s owned a wide range of classic American cars—from historic gems like a 1934 Ford Cabriolet to post-war classics like a 1953 Buick Skylark to muscle cars like a 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air IV Convertible (one of only five built).

When he decided to slim down the treasure trove in 2010, the auction was handled by RM Sotheby’s, written up in the New York Times, and covered by CNN. Not to mention just about every car magazine under the sun. Sports Car Digest stated: “Never before has a collection of mid-century American Muscle been offered and achieved such consistently extraordinary results.”

He still has a considerable collection, until a few years ago housed in the 40,000-square-foot Car Barn on the 446-acre

Robson Estate—a property featured in Forbes (among others) and, after it was sold, used as the set of the Fox TV series Monarch. His wheels now reside in a converted roller staking rink.

Though Robson is all about the ROI, his investing in a venture like Notes Live probably does have something to do with his life-long love of music. In the 80s and 90s, he played in a country band. And the Car Barn hosted regular jam sessions for years. Music and cars—staples of American culture—all under one roof.

Having had a front-row seat as the Boot Barn Hall at Bourbon Brothers became part of the Gainesville community, Robson is bullish on Notes Live—and happy to have a stake in it.

“Hope they do well and build all the ones they’ve got on the drawing board. And get on the stock exchange,” he sums up. “They have good backing and know what they’re doing.”

That’s a pretty fine endorsement coming from someone who started working out of an El Camino and—50 years later—auctioned off part of his car collection for over $9 million.

Top: 1962 Pontiac Catalina Convertible. Middle: American memorabilia. Right: 1969 Pontiac GTO Judge Ram Air. Left Pg Inset: Boot Barn Hall at Bourbon Brothers in Gainesville | Photo Credit: Notes Live FIRE PIT OWNER INTERVIEWMILTON ROBSON
Right Pg Image: The Car Barn during the Milton Robson Auction at the Robson Estate
| Photo Credit:
Greg Foster
Sports Car Digest on the auction of Milton's car treasure trove


Dallas Emerges as Hub for Virtual Showroom and Business Development Headquarters

Investors, brace yourselves for an immersive journey into the world of entertainment and lucrative opportunities as Notes Live makes a monumental move to Dallas.

The company's decision to establish a Virtual Showroom and Business Development Office in the heart of Texas marks a pivotal moment in its customer-centric approach and strategic expansion plans across Oklahoma and Texas, with three world-class venues under development in various stages across McKinney, Oklahoma City and Broken Arrow.

“We are thrilled to be planting roots in Texas. Our team is eager to connect with the community and show them what Notes Live is made of”

Imagine a world where the guesswork of sightlines and venue setups evaporates into thin air. At Notes Live’s Dallas office, potential fire pit owners will step into an entirely immersive experience that revolutionizes the way entertainment investments are made. Gone are the days of uncertainty about stage angles or seating arrangements. Through cutting-edge virtual reality (VR) technology, investors can now witness firsthand the magic and location of their future suites.


Picture this: you settle into the very furniture that will grace your exclusive firepit suite, slip on a pair of VR goggles, and suddenly find yourself transported to the heart of the venue. With a screen likely towering 12 feet high and 8 feet wide, the virtual world unfolds before your eyes with breathtaking clarity. From every seat in the house, you gain a crystal-clear perspective of what awaits, eliminating any doubts or guesswork.

Roth – Notes Live Chairman & CEO Photo Credit: Shutterstock
“It's not just a preview; it's a promise of the unparalleled experience that awaits every investor”

“It's not just a preview; it's a promise of the unparalleled experience that awaits every Notes Live investor,” says Notes Live Chairman and CEO, JW Roth.

But the relocation to Dallas signifies more than just a shift in physical presence. It embodies a strategic move towards greater accessibility and convenience for both current and potential investors.

“By positioning its business development office in a centrally located hub, Notes Live underscores its commitment to serving the needs of its growing investor base in our region,” says Chad Hennings Notes Live Board Member and 3X Super Bowl Champion with the Dallas Cowboys.

With venues strategically scattered across North Texas and Oklahoma, Notes Live ensures that investors have direct access to its expanding portfolio of entertainment offerings. From luxury outdoor music venues to established entertainment complexes like Sunset Amphitheaters, Bourbon Brothers Smokehouse & Tavern restaurants, and Boot Barn Hall live music venues, Notes Live is synonymous with unparalleled entertainment experiences.

The decision to plant roots in Texas, a state renowned for its vibrant culture and entrepreneurial spirit, speaks volumes about Notes Live's vision for the future. It's not merely about relocating; it's about embracing a thriving ecosystem that fosters innovation, growth, and limitless possibilities.

“We are thrilled to be planting roots in Texas. Our team is eager to connect with the community and show them what Notes Live is made of.” - JW Roth Chairman and CEO

For investors, this move represents more than just a change of address; it's a gateway to a world of unprecedented opportunities. By investing in the Sunset at McKinney, you're not merely purchasing shares; you're embarking on a journey where unforgettable entertainment and lucrative returns intersect in perfect harmony.

As the company continues to carve a niche as one of the fastest-growing entertainment and hospitality entities in the United States, investors stand to benefit from its unwavering commitment to excellence. Whether it's creating iconic music venues or redefining the boundaries of entertainment hospitality, Notes Live remains at the forefront of innovation, setting new standards with each endeavor. The introduction of the new VR showroom exemplifies yet another milestone, showcasing how modern investors are deeply engaged and connected with the trajectory of their investments.

More details are forthcoming, so for now follow the journey at Very soon you will be able to step into the future of entertainment investments with Notes Live and experience the magic firsthand. With its stateof-the-art Virtual Showroom and Business Development Office in Dallas, the stage is set for a new era of immersive experiences and unparalleled returns.

In the world of entertainment investment, Notes Live isn't just making waves; it's orchestrating a symphony of success where every investor has a front-row seat to greatness. Join us as we redefine the landscape of entertainment investment, one immersive experience at a time.

Invest in Notes Live and become a part of something truly extraordinary—a world where entertainment and opportunity converge to create unforgettable moments and lasting prosperity.

The stage is set, the lights are dimmed, and the spotlight awaits. Are you ready to take center stage with Notes Live?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock JW Roth on the Notes Live Virtual Showroom Experience in Dallas

Western Skies,

The roots of Oklahoma and Texas country music have branched out through an emerging live music landscape of bigger venues, and experiences.

BY THE TIME THE BEATLES HAD TAKEN HOLD OF DENNIS QUAID IN THE EARLY 1960 s , he had already absorbed the country music that immersed him growing up in Houston, Texas. As rock continued to surface, everyone across the way from Alabama-bred Hank Williams to Eddy Arnold, and Kitty Wells from Tennessee, and one of the actor and musician’s biggest influences Johnny Cash, set Quaid en route through the music emerging from Texas.

“Country music was before and after that,” said Quaid, “and Texas had its own brand of rock and roll that came out of country music.”


Quaid remembers when Willie Nelson returned home to Texas in the early 1970s with longer hair and mutton chops, and forged ahead with fellow Texan outlaw Waylon Jennings after establishing himself as a songwriter in Nashville with Patsy Cline’s 1961 hit “Crazy” and “Pretty Paper” from fellow Texan Roy Orbison in 1964. Then there was songwriter and producer “Cowboy” Jack Clement, who became a real-life mentor and friend to Quaid.

By the ’70s, Quaid also gravitated toward Jerry Jeff Walker, who penned “Mr. Bojangles” and planted himself in Austin Texas early in his career. Walker's 1973 album Viva Terlingua and the song “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother” was one of Quaid's favorites along with Jennings’ 1975 release Dreaming My Dreams. “Country music has always been very eclectic in Texas,” says Quaid. “Folks like Kris Kristofferson and Mack Davis came from these little towns in Texas.”

Music was always laced throughout Quaid’s acting career, from his 1981 musical drama The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, to co-writing and performing the song “Closer to You” for the soundtrack on his 1987 film The Big Easy, and starring as “the killer,” Jerry Lee Lewis, in the 1989 film Great Balls of Fire. Quaid also formed the short-lived group the Eclectics, featuring members of Bonnie Raitt’s band, and later started playing with his band the Sharks.

Beyond the outskirts of Texas, Quaid’s Oklahoma roots were always present with everyone from western performer Will Rogers and the “Okie from Muskogee” Merle Haggard through the actor’s first cousin, twice removed, the singing cowboy Gene Autry. “I could never figure out why Texas did not become a recording mecca like Nashville,” said Quaid. “Oklahoma never became a recording destination, either.”

“Country music has always been very eclectic in Texas, folks like Kris Kristofferson and Mack Davis came from these little towns in Texas.”

Country Ties

Both states are still identifiable by the music they've created beyond country, according to Michael McCall, author, senior editor, and historian at the Country Music Hall of Fame, with each delivering everything from blues, jazz, R&B, and rock across state lines. “They influenced so much of what's happening across the rest of the country,” says McCall. In Texas, there was the earlier Western Swing of Limestone County Texan Bob Willis and honky tonk pioneer Ernest Tubb to country artists like George Jones, the outlaw movement, and later crossovers. More came from Oklahoma with Johnny Bond and more contemporary Okies Reba McEntire and Carrie Underwood, who have pulled from Western Swing. “If you think of the histories that those states had in every era, in every decade,”

Actor & Musician – Dennis Images: Actor & Musician Dennis Quaid

says McCall, “there's some musician that came out of there that ended up changing the music world.”

McCall adds, “If you were raised in Texas or Oklahoma, you heard music all the time. It's not just part of the community. It’s part of your school. It’s part of your society. It’s everywhere you go. Music was more involved, and that's not necessarily the case across the world or across America.”

In the earlier days of country, live music typically consisted of “four or five guys on stage,” says McCall. Now, the live landscape has adapted to larger platforms and grand productions within more stadium and amphitheatersized venues.

“When I was young, arenas were rock and roll venues, not country music venues,” says McCall, who said artists like Alabama, Charlie Daniels, and Hank Williams Jr. were some of the first to play outside of theaters. “Then comes George Strait and Reba McEntire dragging fans to arenas,” says McCall. “I remember when George Strait started playing stadiums in the late ’90s. It was a brand new thing.”

Along with Potent, Texas native Strait, by the beginning of ’90s, Oklahoma-born Garth Brooks set the bar for live performance with bigger presentations. “It broke through what it had been, which was still screens and lights and maybe some explosions, but with Garth everything stepped up,” says McCall. “Then there’s Alan Jackson who isn’t going

to dance or swing from a rope, but he has different qualities to his show. They make it the best experience they can for people to have a good time and spend the day there, and that wasn't always the case even 20 years ago.”

By the early ‘90s, Clint Black also started hitting bigger stages. Growing up Katy, Texas, Black was reared on everyone from Haggard and Willis to Oklahoma-born Leon Russell. “It was different growing up with country music in Texas, maybe because of all the dancehalls,” says Black. “Texas music has a very wide variety of styles. For me it was about whether or not the crowd could dance to it.”

That element of “dance” is something Black says penetrated his 1989 debut Killin’ Time. “I think it’s mostly about standards,” says Black of the music that influenced him early on in Texas. “What I grew up on had all the above and the lyrics were strong. There were outside influences but I think we had the best music going, down in Texas.”

He adds, “Texas is a very big state. The amount of talent and the number of fans make it a statewide music hub. You can play live shows somewhere in Texas every night of the week— sometimes twice a night. The landscape is vast, and the music matches that size and scope, so it’s hard to pigeonhole the sound. It’s more of a feeling. It’s an attitude.”

The crossover of country into pop and other genres also helped turn the genre it into a phenomena. “People will say ‘Why doesn’t it go back to the roots,’” says Quaid of the crossovers into country, “but regardless of genre, country is American music now.”

Today, country artists like Morgan Wallen, Chris Stapleton, Luke Combs, and Miranda Lambert are rarely seen playing smaller venues. “Now, if you're not playing an arena once in a while, you're not the biggest star,” says McCall. “It’s part of your status now, and it wasn’t 25 years ago.”

The impact of stadium and amphitheater-level touring artists within country music has also contributed to the genre becoming a top generator for tour sales in 2023. Country music tour sales increased in 2022, alone by 10 percent and by 12.7

Left Image: Garth Brooks performing at Fan Fair, 1990 Right Image: 90's Stars, 1991 Clint Black | Photo Credit: John Shearer/ Wire Image

percent in 2023, according to Billboard Boxscore. This uptick in country music ticket sales is a result of new headliners like Wallen, who was one of the top-grossing touring artists in 2023 with $260.4 million in sales.

“I think the advent of SoundScan showed the country and the world just how popular country music is,” says Black. “Most people who like music will like some country music, if not all, but they have to be exposed to know that. Crossover hits can help bring them to the dance.”

Black continues “We may have seen the crest of the wave, or maybe not. It’s hard to imagine it being more popular than it already is, but there are still a lot of people who haven’t seen the light yet.”

To help satisfy the growing needs of concertgoers in both states, Notes Live is on its way to enhancing the live music experience with the opening of 12,500-seat capacity Sunset Amphitheater in Broken Arrow for the Tulsa, Oklahoma market, with two more planned in Oklahoma City and Dallas Forth Worth, Texas.

“If I was going to invest my money in Texas right now, it would be in Fort Worth, because I think it's the next city that's gonna blow up, culturally and artistically,” said Quaid. “There’s such a great feeling there. Something is happening there.”

experience the Eagles in an ambiance that you've never had before,” says JW Roth, founder and CEO, Notes Live. “You can go to a lot of places to see bands like Styx and Foreigner but there's not a lot of places that you can go and hear music and experience the ambiance of premium streaming, food and beverage, parking, seats, and premium suites.”

Roth adds “When you come to a Notes Live amphitheater, you can expect the Ritz Carlton of amphitheaters. That's what I set out to build. Anybody can build an amphitheater. Anybody can build a hotel, but not everybody can build Ritz Carlton.”

The venues will also attract a higher caliber of artists who may not have been able to play in these cities before due to a lack of fuller capacity venues. “Think of your larger touring bands that are playing some of the amphitheaters in the world,” says Roth. ”They’ve never played Tulsa, and they've never played an amphitheater in Oklahoma City, because that didn’t exist.”

“Now, if you're not playing an arena once in a while, you're not the biggest star. It’s part of your status now, and it wasn’t 25 years ago.”
Michael McCall, Country Music Hall of Fame

Along with other markets across the U.S., including Tennessee and Georgia, the amphitheaters offer music fans access to a state-of-the art concert experience, along with luxury amenities, spanning VIP luxury suites, fire pits, cuisine, and more.

“You're coming to hear the Eagles, but you're also coming to

In August 2024, Notes Live is set to open its first amphitheater in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with OneRepublic serving as its inaugural performers. By the opening show in 2024, Notes Live will also officially become a publicly traded company.

For Roth, live music is where his passion lies, and he hopes to enhance the experience for concertgoers in music cities like Oklahoma and Texas. “I want to be the new NFL venue of music,” says Roth. “I want people to look back four or five years from now and say ‘Notes Live disrupted the way you see outdoor live music.”

Roth adds, “I've set out to be a disrupter. We want to disrupt the way you experience music. And we’re gonna have fun doing it.”

Sunset Amphitheater in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma. Rendered Image
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World-Class Culinary Experiences Elevate the Dining Scene in Oklahoma and Texas

ACULINARY REVOLUTION IS TRANSFORMING A PART OF THE UNITED STATES that some people might typically associate only with steak and potatoes. In the western south-central region of the country, this exciting shift sees talented chefs and restaurateurs bringing their unique blend of artistry, authenticity, and influences to create a bold landscape of serious destination-worthy dining that rivals any international capital. From Oklahoma City to Tulsa to Dallas and Fort Worth, here is where to book a table the next time you fancy a fabulous meal.

Rave Reviews in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma City, Chef Andrew Black is synonymous with savory cuisine. Since arriving in 2006, the Jamaican-born executive chef, entrepreneur, and author of Foraging in Oklahoma: Tales and Recipes of the Open Road settled in quite nicely in his adopted home, opening three outstanding restaurants—with a fourth on the way—while attracting critical acclaim, including winning the 2023 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest, among numerous other accolades. Armed with a precision to detail and a point of view that defies boundaries, he consistently introduces new possibilities in the form of elevated dishes and chic settings at his award-winning fine dining establishment, Grey Sweater, the trend-setting Black Walnut, and modern eatery and patisserie, Gilded Acorn, all part of the restaurant group he co-founded, Culinary Edge Concepts.

Inside each restaurant, guests encounter memorable experiences, gracious hospitality, and warmth, all extremely important for Chef Black. He says, “At the end of the day, no matter how fancy it is…it’s about how we made you feel, how we made you feel at home.”

Main Image: Chef Andrew Black in the kitchen at Grey Sweater. Inset Left to Right: Dishes from Grey Sweater.


Sorghum-Glazed Branzino

From Chef Andrew Black

Makes 1 serving

Kosher salt and pepper

1 small tomato

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 tablespoons butter

2 sprigs fresh thyme

1 six-ounce filet of branzino, skin-on, patted dry

2 teaspoons sorghum (or honey)

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

1 small shallot, thinly sliced

¼ cup baby leeks, white parts only, thinly sliced

3 sprigs cilantro with stems

¼ cup lima beans (canned or frozen)

¼ cup vegetable or chicken stock

½ lime, juiced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rub tomato with olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt. Roast in oven for 10 minutes until just blistered. Set it aside. Add 4 tablespoons olive oil, butter, and thyme to a small skillet. Heat over medium high heat.

Meanwhile, sprinkle branzino filet with ½ teaspoon salt and put into skillet, skin side down. With a spoon, pour oil and butter mixture over the top of the filet. Cook until the skin is golden brown, about 4 minutes. With tongs, turn filet over and cook another 3-4 minutes until done, spooning more oil and butter over the top. Remove filet and place on a plate, skin side up. Spread sorghum (or honey) over the skin and set aside. Discard thyme and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and garlic to cooled skillet and then heat over medium heat. Cook until garlic is golden brown, about 1 minute. Add shallots and leeks and cook for 1 minute until softened. Add beans, cilantro, stock, and lime juice. Simmer for 3 minutes, until reduced and slightly thickened. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove to a plate and top with tomato and branzino. Serve warm.

When it comes to the distinguishing factors of each place, Grey Sweater explores the grey area of taste with an evolving seven- or ten-course tiered tasting menu featuring unforgettable flavors in beautifully presented plates, such as Seared Norwegian scallops with coconut milk sauce and the delicate Turnip Braised via sous vide. Nearby, at Black Walnut, the unbuttoned atmosphere and contemporary American cuisine complement the eclectic, vibrant vibe of the Bricktown district. Meanwhile, the pristine Gilded Acorn set within the historic First National Center provides a bright and airy backdrop for benedicts, sandwiches, salads, champagne, pastries, and high tea.

As someone who played a part in putting the dynamic dining landscape of Oklahoma on the map, Chef Black anticipates only more good things in the future. “We were once just a hidden gem. Now, the world is finding out about us. More major players are coming in and opening restaurants, and the ones that are already here are really getting more creative. I’ve opened several restaurants here. So, I’ve seen the caliber and the culinary scene grow. People are traveling from all over to eat at our restaurants,” he says. “One thing that I think people will be surprised about is how much food culture there is here, at how spread-out Oklahoma is and that every district and neighborhood has their different flair of cooking.”

These days, Chef Black is gearing up for his next culinary venture, the highly anticipated Perle Mesta, slated to open

this summer at The Skirvin Hotel, where he got his start in Oklahoma City.

Another buzzy contender in Oklahoma City is Ma Der Lao Kitchen. Founded by Chef Jeff Chanchaleune, a nominee for the 2024 James Beard Award for Best Chef: Southwest, who grew up in the city’s urban core, the restaurant draws from his rich Laotian heritage and family traditions. Evident in every order are the “bold, bright, spicy, and funky flavors of Laotian cuisine,” starting with the crispy rice salad, the satisfying Lao sausage, grilled beef, and fried chicken with red curry fish sauce.

So far, word has spread about the delicious food, with the establishment receiving recognition and making the best restaurants list of The New York Times and Bon Appétit in recent years, confirming its place as a must-visit destination for locals and visitors who want to indulge in delectable family-style meals. Interestingly, Ma Der translates to “Let’s eat,” with Chef Jeff believing it is the perfect introduction for people who want to experience something new and different. “I’ve been around kitchens and restaurants my entire life. I was born and raised in OKC and cooked Japanese cuisine professionally. I felt it was time for me to return to my roots and keep my culture’s food alive,” he says, noting that “Ma Der Lao is helping make the dining scene in Oklahoma City more diverse.”

Other notable OKC dining spots include the recently opened Ramsay’s Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay, serving an all-day menu of Starters like Tuna

Left Image: Selection of Laotian dishes from a Ma Der Lao Kitchen. Middle: Chef Jeff Chanchaleune from Ma Der Lao Kitchen. Right: Ramsay's Kitchen.

Tartare and Signature Mains, such as Beef Wellington. Fitting for all occasions is the iconic Tellers restaurant for Italian specialties and The Great Hall, aka “Oklahoma’s Living Room,” both set in a spacious gallery adorned with striking murals, high columns, and art deco accents in the turn of the century landmark First National Center.

As for Tulsa, the former Oil Capital of the World, dining is also moving in a more diverse direction. Reflecting on the gradual transformation, Amelia Eesley, local restaurateur and owner of Amelia’s Wood Fired Cuisine and Restaurant Basque says, “When I was growing up, Tulsa was mainly a town of chain restaurants. Over time, chefs like Tim Inman, who was probably the first to push chef-driven culinary cuisine through his restaurant Stonehorse Café, started to emerge. We had people I worked for in big steakhouses moving out to try their own hand, and the culinary scene we have today, which is full of chef-driven handmade food, emerged.”

At her lively Restaurant Basque, the spirit of culinary excellence and coming together to share a delicious meal is evident. The establishment, which celebrates European cuisine and the tradition of long meals with friends, fits right in with the new Tulsa food scene with its fun, vibrant atmosphere, and high-quality dining experience. When it comes to the menu featuring such popular dishes as Seared Sea Scallops with Squid Ink Risotto and Fried Eggplant and Honey, Eesley says, “As Basque is a European Spanish and French concept, we do not apologize that the flavors are meant for one to escape Oklahoma and travel to a place far away where perhaps you will remember your own experience in Spain or perhaps you are planning a trip and want to see what some of the cuisine will be like when you get there.”


Cocktail connoisseurs are in for a surprise when in Oklahoma City. All they have to do is make their way to the basement level of the historic First National Center Building and look for a gigantic vault. Once they step inside, an exciting world of libations unfolds. Zak Lindahl, beverage director at the Library of Distilled Spirits, tells us all about it.

Does the Library of Distilled Spirits have a philosophy around its drink creations?

The Library of Distilled Spirits celebrates expertly prepared classic cocktails. Our book of 200 classic cocktails includes the history of the world's most iconic classic cocktails, along with many of the original recipes. These are the classics in their truest form. We also offer highly creative interpretations inspired by cocktail books, including The Gentleman's Companion, Volume II: An Exotic Drinking Book, which was subsequently published as Around the World with Jigger, Bleak and Flask, by Charles H. Baker Jr, to name a few.

How does the guest experience and the space at the Library of Distilled Spirits stand out from other establishments?

Our Encyclopedia of Spirits and Book of Cocktails are two examples. We pour spirits in proper glassware that best showcases their flavor profiles, tasting flights that allow guests to compare and contrast different expressions of spirits from around the world. This, combined with knowledgeable tableside service, makes for an incredible experience.

What are some of your signature drinks?

Aside from our expertly prepared classics, we serve creative interpretations of iconic cocktails such as the Lalah Rook. Our twist takes an Old Fashioned and turns it into an exploration of umami and savory profiles that grow in depth with each sip. Our New Friends cocktail is your favorite Old Pal, featuring elevation at every spirit section, from Chai and chamomile rye and vermouth infusions to coconut fat-washed Campari.

Why should locals and visitors go to the Library of Distilled Spirits? When guests step into the Library, they're stepping back into a different time. Within the Historic Bank Vault of the First National Center, the atmosphere within the Vault is that of wonder and awe. Not to mention that with a vast selection of more than 1,500 spirits, guests are bound to find something that they've never seen before.

WHERE TO DRINK IN OKC Oklahoma City Photo Credit: Christine Garcia

Tantalizing Tastes in Texas

In the DFW metropolitan area, food lovers are fortunate to have so many stellar restaurants to discover, both old and new. An iconic experience not to miss for fine dining is The Mansion Restaurant, located at the luxurious five-star Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in the Uptown neighborhood. At its helm is Chef Sebastian Archambault, who oversees the new American cuisine with French influences, served in sophisticated spaces, reflecting exquisite architectural details and accents of the 1925 estate that houses The Mansion Restaurant and The Mansion Bar.

The Mansion Restaurant, distinguished with the AAA FourDiamond Restaurant ranking and honored with Wine Spectator’s 2023 Best of Award of Excellence, offers an exceptional dining experience. While the menus at The Mansion change regularly, enticing staples include Platinum Ossetra Caviar and entrees,

such as Miyazaki A5 Wagyu Striploin with crispy fondant, Tuscan Kale, charred figs, and beef au jus, as well as five- and seven-course tasting menus.

Downtown, high atop the iconic Reunion Tower, the newcomer Crown Block, which opened in April 2023, attracts a stylish crowd for its sweeping views and experiential dining experience. A feast for the senses, guests are greeted with an elevator beverage, which they can enjoy as they make their way to the restaurant and take in the incredible scenery. At the helm of cuisine is the culinary team of James Beard-nominated Elizabeth Blau and Chef Kim Canteenwalla of restaurant development company Blau + Associates, known for concept dining contributions in Las Vegas. As for the menu, Wagyu Tartare with bone marrow butter and cured egg and Fried Chicken and Waffles with Hackleback caviar and ample whipped butter served during the popular Sunday brunch and seafood bar are among the highlights.

Regarding the local dining scene, Graham Elliot, a Michelin-star celebrity

chef and culinary director at FAR Out Hospitality, the company founded by restaurateur Felipe Armenta, behind crafting many chef-driven restaurants, including Pacific Table, Maria’s Mexican Kitchen, Tavern, and the newly opened Le Margot, says, “Everyone is an educated foodie nowadays, and Dallas-Fort Worth residents are no exception. It’s great to see different cultures and cuisines embraced by the community, and Le Margot’s French approach fits right in. It’s an exciting time to be cooking (and eating) in DFW.

After opening in the Tanglewood neighborhood of Fort Worth in June 2023, Le Margot, with a seductive, eye-catching Moulin rouge aesthetic, laidback bistro ambiance, and sophisticated cuisine, happens to be one of the hottest reservations in town, with Dove Sole Meuniere, French Onion Soup, and Rose Crème Brûlée, proving to be the flavorful favorites.

So, whether heading to Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Dallas, or Fort Worth, one thing for sure is there are quite a few spectacular restaurants to get a table.

Main Image: The interior of Crown Block within the Reunion Tower building. Inset Left: A selection of dishes at Crown Block. Middle: Le Margot interior and French Onion Soup. Right: The Mansion Bar.
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