ENTER “THE CRACKER BARREL OLD COUNTRY STORE COUNTRY CHECKERS CHALLENGE” ONLINE AT CRACKERBARREL.COM FOR A CHANCE TO WIN

ENTER “THE CRACKER BARREL OLD COUNTRY STORE COUNTRY CHECKERS CHALLENGE” ONLINE AT CRACKERBARREL.COM FOR A CHANCE TO WIN

ENTER “THE CRACKER BARREL OLD COUNTRY STORE COUNTRY CHECKERS CHALLENGE” ONLINE AT CRACKERBARREL.COM FOR A CHANCE TO WIN A TRIP TO “THE 50th ANNUAL ACADEMY OF COUNTRY MUSIC AWARDS” ON APRIL 19, 2015, AT AT&T STADIUM IN ARLINGTON, TX

Grand Prize Winners Receive Opportunity to Join Team Captains Kellie Pickler and Thomas Rhett and Other Country Music Artists at the 2015 ACM Party for a Cause Festival: 50 Years of Music & Memories in North Texas on April 18 to Play Checkers for Donations to Benefit the USO (United Service Organizations, Inc.) and DAV (Disabled American Veterans)

ENCINO, CA (Feb. 2, 2015) – Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® and the Academy of Country Music announced today “The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Country Checkers Challenge” leading up to the 50th Annual Academy of Country Music  Awards LIVE on CBS on Sunday, April 19, from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

On Saturday, April 18, country music artists and team captains Kellie Pickler and Thomas Rhett will direct their opposing teams to battle it out on Cracker Barrel’s giant checkerboard. The fun takes place onsite at the 2015 ACM Party for a Cause Festival: 50 Years of Music & Memories at Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, leading up to the 50th ACM Awards.

Through a $35,000 donation from Cracker Barrel, ACM Lifting Lives® will donate $25,000 to the winning team’s charity and $10,000 to the losing team’s charity. Pickler, a USO tour vet, has selected the USO and Rhett has selected DAV as the benefiting charities. SiriusXM “The Highway” Satellite Radio personality Storme Warren will serve as host for the event.   

“Music is as important to our country spirit as a home cooked meal,” said Chris Ciavarra, senior vice president of marketing for Cracker Barrel Old Country Store.  “That’s why Cracker Barrel has partnered with the Academy of Country Music to celebrate their 50th Anniversary. We are excited about offering our fans everywhere an opportunity to connect with Cracker Barrel and the Academy by hosting both an online checkers tournament and an on-site celebrity game.”

Six Grand Prize Winners from the online Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Country Checkers Challenge (which begins today), two participants selected by Cracker Barrel at a later date, 12 country music artists to be revealed later, a representative from the USO, a representative from  DAV, and the two spouses of the team captains will be divided equally to create the two opposing teams.  Each team member will be a “human playing checkers piece” and will follow directions given by the team captains. 

Beginning today, Feb. 2, fans can enter “The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Country Checkers Challenge” sweepstakes game* at CrackerBarrel.com.  The game will continue until March 23 when six Grand Prize Winners will be crowned. The six Grand Prize Winners will each win a trip for two to the ACM Awards at AT&T Stadium outside Dallas and a spot on the checkerboard to play in the ultimate Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Country Checkers Challenge with team captains Pickler and Rhett. All rules and regulations can be found at CrackerBarrel.com.

Additional details, including the names of the country music artists participating in the checkers game at ACM’s festival, will be revealed soon.

Special ACM retail merchandise will be available for sale at Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® locations beginning Feb. 2.  The merchandise will include limited edition ACM 50th t-shirts and hats. Also included is This is Country: A Backstage Pass to the Academy of Country Music Awards, the Academy’s first-ever commemorative hardcover book, written by esteemed former music journalist and current ACM executive, Lisa Lee.  

*NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. PURCHASE WILL NOT INCREASE ODDS OF WINNING. Open to legal residents of the Contiguous United States at or over the age of majority at time of entry. Starts 02/02/15 at 12:01 a.m. CT and ends 04/19/15 at 5:00 p.m. CT. Entry for the chance to win the grand prize ends 3/22/15 at 5:00 p.m. CT.  Odds of winning will vary. Void where prohibited. Additional terms apply. For entry, prize, and other details, including the Official Rules, go to crackerbarrel.com.  Sponsor: Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc., Lebanon, TN.

About the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® Exclusive Music Program

Since 2005, Cracker Barrel has released CDs with a wide variety of artists, some of which have debuted in the top three spots on a range of Billboard’s charts including Top DVD Music Videos, Top Country Albums, Top Contemporary Christian Albums and Top Bluegrass Albums. The Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® exclusive music program includes CDs with Alabama, Rodney Atkins, Mandy Barnett, Clint Black, Jason Michael Carroll, Steven Curtis Chapman, Dailey & Vincent, The Charlie Daniels Band, Ronnie Dunn, Edens Edge, Sara Evans, Bill Gaither, Vince Gill and Paul Franklin, Amy Grant, The Grascals, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson, George Jones, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Neal McCoy, Montgomery Gentry, Russell Moore & IIIrd Tyme Out, Craig Morgan, The Oak Ridge Boys, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, Smokey Robinson, Kenny Rogers, The Secret Sisters, Ricky Skaggs, Michael W. Smith, Ralph Stanley,Aaron Tippin, Randy Travis, Josh Turner, Wynonna and the Zac Brown Band. For details, visit crackerbarrel.com.

About Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. provides a friendly home-away-from-home in its old country stores and restaurants. Guests are cared for like family while relaxing and enjoying real home-style food and shopping that’s surprisingly unique, genuinely fun and reminiscent of America’s country heritage…all at a fair price. The restaurant serves up delicious, home-style country food such as meatloaf and homemade chicken n’ dumplins as well as its made-from-scratch biscuits using an old family recipe. The authentic old country retail store is fun to shop and offers unique gifts and self-indulgences.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRL) was established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn. and operates 634 company-owned locations in 42 states. Every Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® location is open seven days a week with hours Sunday through Thursday, 6 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 6 a.m. - 11 p.m. For more information, visit crackerbarrel.com.

About the Academy of Country Music Awards

The 50th Academy of Country Music Awards is dedicated to honoring and showcasing the biggest names and emerging talent in the country music industry.  The show is produced for television by dick clark productions and will broadcast LIVE from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX on Sunday, April 19, 2015 at 8:00 PM live ET/delayed PT on the CBS Television Network. Allen Shapiro, Mike Mahan, R.A. Clark and Barry Adelman are executive producers.  Bob Romeo is executive producer for the Academy of Country Music.

About ACM Lifting Lives®

ACM Lifting Lives® is the philanthropic arm of the Academy of Country Music dedicated to improving lives through the power of music.  Through partnerships with artists and strong ties in the music industry, ACM Lifting Lives develops and funds music-related therapy and education programs, and serves members of the community who face unexpected hardships through its Diane Holcomb Emergency Relief Fund. Through generous donations and the support of artists and fans, ACM Lifting Lives is able to fund everything from disaster relief and helping communities in need, to music education in schools and music camps for those with disabilities, to supporting programs that use music therapy as a means to help our veterans and wounded warriors, while providing grants to help them ease back into life. For more information, please visit www.ACMLiftingLives.org.

About the USO

The USO lifts the spirits of America's troops and their families millions of times each year at hundreds of places worldwide. We provide a touch of home through centers at airports and military bases in the U.S. and abroad, top quality entertainment and innovative programs and services. We also provide critical support to those who need us most, including forward-deployed troops, military families, wounded warriors, troops in transition and families of the fallen. The USO is a private, non-profit organization, not a government agency. Our programs and services are made possible by the American people, support of our corporate partners and the dedication of our volunteers and staff. To join us in this important mission, and to learn more about the USO, please visit uso.org.

About DAV

DAV empowers veterans to lead high-quality lives with respect and dignity. It is dedicated to a single purpose: fulfilling our promises to the men and women who served. DAV does this by ensuring that veterans and their families can access the full range of benefits available to them; fighting for the interests of America’s injured heroes on Capitol Hill; connecting veterans and their families with employment resources and educating the public about the great sacrifices and needs of veterans transitioning back to civilian life. DAV, a non-profit organization with 1.2 million members, was founded in 1920 and chartered by the U. S. Congress in 1932. Learn more at dav.org.

About Kellie Pickler

Kellie Pickler grew up immersed in country music in the small town of Albemarle, North Carolina with the words of Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, and Dolly Parton shaping her musical footing. At the age of 19, she gained fame as a contestant on the fifth season of “American Idol.” In 2006, she signed with 19 Recordings/BNA Records and released her debut album, Small Town Girl, which has gone on to sell more than 900,000 copies worldwide and produce three hit singles: “Red High Heels,” “I Wonder,” and “Things That Never Cross a Man’s Mind.” She followed that in 2008 with her self-titled sophomore record, featuring country radio hits “Don’t You Know You’re Beautiful,” “Best Days of Your Life” (co-written with Taylor Swift and her first Top 10), and “Didn’t You Know How Much I Loved You.” Having established herself as not only a powerful vocalist but also a songwriter, Pickler released

her third studio album, 100 Proof, in 2011 to huge critical acclaim. The album was named the No. 1 Country Album of The Year by Rolling Stone and was listed on “Best of 2012” lists by The Washington Post, Rhapsody, AOL’s The Boot and more. In spring of 2013, Pickler partnered with dance coach Derek Hough and won the Mirror Ball Trophy on “Dancing with the Stars.” On Nov. 11, 2013, Pickler released her latest album, The Woman I Am, on her new label home, Black River Entertainment. She co-wrote three songs on the album, including the title cut.  She provided the voice for the lead character of Mirabelle in the new Veggie Tales animated movie “Beauty and the Beet” which was released by DreamWorks Animation in October 2014. Pickler is also an avid supporter of the U.S. military, having recently completed her eighth USO Tour in December 2014. For more information, please visit kelliepickler.com. 

About Thomas Rhett

Singer/songwriter Thomas Rhett’s debut album It Goes Like This (The Valory Music Co.) has spawned two consecutive Platinum-certified No. 1 hits, including a three-week run with “It Goes Like This.” Additionally, he showcased his swagger with his latest single, “Make Me Wanna,” which topped Billboard’s list of Best Country Songs of 2014. The project also produced the Platinum-certified No. 1 smash “Get Me Some Of That,” as well as two Top 15 hits, “Beer With Jesus” and “Something To Do With My Hands.” His “high-energy all the way” (El Paso Times) caught the attention of critics out on the road, where he’ll be stepping up as direct support for Florida Georgia Line’s ANYTHING GOES TOUR 2015 this year. The CMA “New Artist of the Year” nominee initially garnered attention as a gifted songwriter with credits including hits by Florida Georgia Line, Jason Aldean and Lee Brice. For tour dates and more visit, thomasrhett.com

About Storme Warren

Storme Warren has covered the world of country music throughout his 30 year broadcasting career, interviewing nearly every artist active during that period from legends to newcomers. An authoritative presence in the genre, Warren currently hosts the daily morning show “The Highway” heard around the world on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. He was also both producer and host of the long-running “Headline Country” series on the Great American Country (GAC)

television network. Frequently referred to as “the Ryan Seacrest of Country Music,” he can be found hosting numerous high profile events in Nashville and around the globe, including Music City’s highly touted annual Let Freedom Sing Independence Day and The Bash on Broadway New Years Eve celebrations. Music festivals all over North America, the Caribbean and Australia also recruit his talents as a live event emcee. Behind the scenes, he is a partner in Surfing Moose Productions, a full-service video production company responsible for producing “Headline Country,” numerous television specials. and concert events. As a proud member of the Nashville Community, Warren serves on the board of directors for the T.J. Martell Foundation for Cancer Research

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Media Contacts:

For Cracker Barrel Old Country Store:

Teresa N. Miller

(615) 443-9589

teresa.miller@crackerbarrel.com

Ebie McFarland / Scott Stem

Essential Broadcast Media

(615) 327-3259

ebie@ebmediapr.com / scott@ebmediapr.com

For Kellie Pickler:

Ebie McFarland / Scott Stem

Essential Broadcast Media

(615) 327-3259

ebie@ebmediapr.com / scott@ebmediapr.com

For the Academy of Country Music:

PMK•BNC Joanna Cichocki / Brian Rubin / Christina Canseco

(310) 854-4800

Joanna.Cichocki@pmkbnc.com

Brian.Rubin@pmkbnc.com

Christina.Canseco@pmkbnc.com

For Thomas Rhett:

Mary Hilliard Harrington / Tyne Parrish

The Green Room PR

(615) 242-7444

MaryHilliard@thegreenroompr.com

Tyne@thegreenroompr.com