MIAMI — Despite the success he and his wife are enjoying as an award-winning duo, Keifer Thompson feels he’s the same small-town guy as when he graduated from Miami High School in 1991.
“A little bit has changed,” said Thompson, who returns home on Sunday, Aug. 19 when he and his wife, Shawna — who make up the award-winning duo Thompson Square — help kick off the 100th annual Ottawa County Fair at the Miami Fairgrounds.
“I feel I am the same small-town guy, just a few things are a lot different than when I was there. I don’t feel I have changed a whole lot, to be honest. I still like the same things. I still do the same things.
“I might have a few more guitars,” he quipped. “I still feel like the hometown boy from Miami — still feel like a Wardog.”
Thompson Square has been three-time “Vocal Duo of the Year” (ACM/CMA) winners and have had two Top 5 albums.
They had an auspicious debut in 2010 with a two-time Platinum No 1 single “Are You Going to Kiss Me Or Not.”
Among their other No. 1 hits are “If I Didn’t Have You,” “Glass,” and “Everything I Shouldn’t Be Thinking About.”
Thompson Square has had streaming numbers surpassing 600 million and a social media following of more than 1.9 million.
Their third studio album, “Masterpiece: dropped last summer to critical acclaim and a new lyric video for the title tune aired for the first time earlier this month.
“I can’t tell you how excited I am that I was even asked to come back and play for the 100th anniversary,” said Thompson, who spent lots of time at the fair while growing up. “Coming back to play in your hometown is usually a lot harder than everywhere else, but I am really, really looking forward to it.”
He and Shawna, a native of Chatom, Alabama, met at a singing competition in Nashville.
They put the performing career on pause for a while “to get used to being parents” of their son, Cooper.
However, they’re back on the road again. They were heading to Lake of the Ozarks for a show when this interview was conducted.
“We have all kinds of different projects getting ready to come down the pike,” Kiefer Thompson said. “We’ve been busy a couple years writing a kids’ book ‘It’s Time to Get Dressed.’ I have two more of those in the works and all kinds of other projects we will be able to announce soon.
“I think we have more irons in the fire this year than we ever have had before in our career. It just came out of nowhere, but it sure is fun.”
The duo will embark on a two-week European tour in September with stops in Amsterdam, Holland; Berlin, Koln and Hamburg, Germany; Dublin, Ireland; Glasgow, Scotland, London and Manchester, England.
“That is going to be a blast,” he said.
Ottawa County can brag about having three successful music artists: Keith Anderson, another former Wardog, and Joe Don Rooney of Rascal Flatts.
“It’s kinda strange, isn’t it,” said Thompson, who played at the Grand Lake Opry at Grove with Rooney. “I don’t know what’s in the water down there — but I know there’s nothing good in Tar Creek.”
Tickets for the 7 p.m. concert are $20 per person and are available at the Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, 111 North Main.
There will be a tractor pull at 7 p.m. Aug. 16-17, and demolition derby at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24.
Tickets are $10 with children under 8 admitted free. A pit pass is available for $15.
Admission for the demolition derby is $15 with children under 8 admitted free with pit passes $20.
An antique tractor show will be at 5 p.m. Aug. 23-24.
Gates will open nightly at 5 p.m. for the grandstand events.
The premium sale dinner will be at 5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 22 followed by the presentation of awards at 6 p.m., and the premium sale at 6:30 p.m.
The show schedule includes dogs, 11 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 17; horses, 6 p.m., Monday, Aug. 19; swine, 4 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 20; sheep and goats, 5 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 21; beef, 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 22; dairy goats, 9 a.m., and bucket animal and buddy, 6 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 24
Poultry and rabbit judging will be at 8:30 a.m., Tuesday Aug. 20, then on Saturday, Aug. 24, there will be youth livestock judging, 11 a.m.; youth fitting contest, 1 p.m.; under 8 poultry and rabbit awards, 5:30 p.m., and Super Showmanship contest, 7 p.m.
Pre-entry is required for all species.
Exhibition building hours will be Tuesday through Friday from 4 to 9 p.m. with extended hours on Thursday from 10 a.m. to midnight for Senior Citizens and Kids Day.
The carnival will run from 6 to 10 p.m. Aug. 20-24.
Wristbands are $28 nightly or $3 each, 10 rides for $28 and 30 for $75.