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The real deal: Saddle bronc rider turned singer to perform at Winter Show

Chancey Williams of Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band. Submitted photo

If you go

What: North Dakota Winter Show country concert

When: 6 p.m. Friday, March 8

Where: Main Arena, North Dakota Winter Show, 700 7th St. SE, Valley City

Details: Confederate Railroad, Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band, Redline

Admission: $30 in advance, $35 at the door

Contact: 701-845-1401, northdakotawintershow.com

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As a champion saddle bronc rider turned singer-songwriter, Chancey Williams said he is often described as an authentic cowboy of country music, a label he is proud to wear.

"It is true there aren't many in the music industry who have actually rodeoed for a living," Williams said in a telephone interview Wednesday.

It's nice to sing about the topics of country and western music and actually live it, he said.

"We grew up with the rodeo and I've been living on a ranch my whole life," Williams said. "So the transition into country music was pretty easy since I was already a cowboy and involved in the rodeo and all that."

Growing up on a Wyoming ranch, Williams learned to ride and won the National High School Rodeo Finals, the College National Finals and competed at Cheyenne Frontier Days. As a band, Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band won the 2016 Rocky Mountain CMA Song of the Year in 2016 for single "Down With That," and their debut album, "Rodeo Cold Beer," topped the Billboard Mountain Heatseekers Chart in 2018.

Williams' songs cover the spectrum of country music, from enduring love to brotherhood and some soul searching, he said. The music has evolved over a decade providing a lot of variety for the live performances with songs about rodeos and the western lifestyle, college songs, good-time songs and some serious stuff, he said.

Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band have performed all over North Dakota but this will be the band's first time to Valley City and the Winter Show.

"I've heard a lot about it and that it's a big turnout," Williams said. "We're real excited to see everybody and to play with Confederate Railroad too. It should be a fun time."

Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band has toured with Chris LeDoux, Merle Haggard, Alabama, Dwight Yoakam, Lady Antebellum, Miranda Lambert and Eric Church. The band will appear at the North Dakota Winter Show in Valley City at 6 p.m. Friday, along with Confederate Railroad, a Georgia band with several hits from the 1990s, and Redline, a Fargo-based band.

"We still travel full time all year round," Williams said. "That works best for what we do and to keep 10 people including band and crew working and paid all the time."

The band remains based in Wyoming as its home but is also a central location for the North American tours, Williams said. The popularity of the band has grown the past two years and so the venues are getting larger and the tour map is growing and creating new fans all the time, he said.

Even with all the touring the band has managed to record half an album this year and plans to have the remaining six songs completed and released by summer, Williams said. Williams also found time to be featured in a campaign for Visit The USA where he talked about Wyoming and how his cowboy lifestyle helps shape his music and unique sound, he said.

Going to college on a rodeo scholarship to the University of Wyoming, competing for all four years of his eligibility, Williams said he chose political science as his major. After graduating he continued on to get a Master in Public Administration from the university while waiting for his bandmates to graduate.

"Politics interested me quite a bit growing up," Williams said. "I thought it would be good to have for city jobs such as a city manager, but the band has played together full time, professionally for over eight years and we have five albums out."