On This Day: Rascal Flatts Make Grand Ole Opry Debut in 2000

by Emily Morgan

On this day, 21 years ago, Rascal Flatts experienced a moment they would likely never forget. On Apr. 28, 2000, the esteemed Grand Ole Opry welcomed the band to their iconic stage.

That day, the country music trio consisting of Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney, and Jay DeMarcus made their debut on the Grand Ole Opry.

At the time, their debut single, “Prayin’ for Daylight,” from their freshman album, was quickly approaching the number one spot on the country music charts. Moreso, the album was still two months out from its release date.

“What was weird about it was the kids were lining the aisles and standing up front, which I had never seen before,” DeMarcus recalled of the experience. “I think that was a time for me that I stopped and went, ‘Wow! We’re doing something special here.'”

Over the next decade, the band remained regular acts at the Opry. In 2011, Rascal Flatts’ success culminated when the Opry invited them once again to their stage. This time, it wasn’t an invitation to perform but an offer to officially join the respected organization as official members.

Grand Ole’ Opry Inducts Rascal Flatts as Official Members

“All I could think about was being a little kid, sitting in the nosebleed section of the Grand Ole Opry,” DeMarcus said of the whirlwind moment. “The first thought that came into my head was, ‘I cannot believe I used to come here on family vacations and watch the Opry with my mom at the very top.’ Then to be on the stage, and then asked to be a member of the Opry — it had all come full circle. It all hit me, a flood of emotions all at once, and it was tough to keep it together.”

On Oct. 8 of that year, all three band members were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, officially securing their status as country music superstars. They even got a shoutout from Then-President George W. Bush.

“We are big fans of Gary, Jay, and Joe Don,” Bush said in a video tribute. “We love their music, and we also love their compassion and generosity. Throughout their success, Rascal Flatts have given back to their community and to our country by supporting the Make-a-Wish Foundation, Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital, and the American Red Cross. I am especially proud of their efforts to honor the men and women of our armed forces and the heroes who are wounded on the front lines.”

“So thanks for your example of excellence and patriotism,” Bush added. “And congratulations, as well as a hardy welcome to the Opry.”