The 2018 NRA Great American Outdoor Show’s climax was the NRA Country Concert, opened by Pennsylvania native and star of Headhunters TV Nate Hosie. The show was co-headlined by Locash and Granger Smith (aka. Earl Dibbles Jr.), who just released his most recent album, When the Good Guys Win, a few months ago. Smith thrilled the crowd with popular songs such as “Happens Like That,” “Don’t Tread On Me” and an older crowd favorite, “Remington,” which he wrote about his grandfather’s shotgun.
Before Smith headed out to excited fans, NRA Family had the pleasure of sitting down with him to talk about his interest in the outdoors, shooting and hunting.
NRA Family: For two years running, you’ve performed at the Great American Outdoor Show and have released two albums with some songs focused on firearms. On that note, who taught you to shoot and how old were you?
Granger Smith: It was my dad. I was probably about seven years old when I went on a dove hunt with him, and I had a BB gun. I was 10 years old when I shot a deer rifle for the first time.
NRA Family: So family taught you to shoot and hunt. Are you continuing the tradition with your own children?
Granger Smith: Yeah! I’ve been workin’ on mine right now. My two oldest are six and four, so we have a beginner Daisy BB gun, and those things are so awesome, and it fits them well. They’ll shoot at a cardboard box, and just hitting the box is an accomplishment. My daughter hits it every time.
NRA Family: Your daughter loves her Daisy; do you have a firearm you love?
Granger Smith: Yes. I have a Remington 870 Wingmaster 12-gauge pump that was passed down from my dad and his dad.
NRA Family: So was that the motivation for naming an album after a well-known firearm manufacturer?
Granger Smith: Yeah, it was that gun, but to be honest it wasn’t about Remington the company. It was more about that heirloom piece that was so important to me, and my dad passed away so that’s all I have from those memories is that gun. I plan on passing it down to my children as well.
NRA Family: Earlier, you mentioned your first hunts. Can you describe them?
Granger Smith: I remember my first doe that I shot. It was a rainy day in the Texas hill country on the last weekend of the season and my dad and I weren’t seeing anything. It was getting later in the day and we needed to get home, so we left the blind and as we started walking we spooked a doe. As she started running, my dad whistled and she stopped and looked broadside for just enough time to allow me to get a standing shot, which was pretty cool for my very first deer. It was an unbelievable experience to get to share that with my dad and with nature. We were able to take it, process the meat and clean it. It’s something that’s very special.
NRA Family: What’s your favorite game to hunt?
Granger Smith: I can’t rank anything above whitetail right now just because of the family tradition.
NRA Family: Between tours, are you able to take time to go hunting?
Granger Smith: The last three to five years have been busy with music, trying to be a family man, a dad and a husband. Family is number one, music is number two and the outdoors is number three. Sometimes my brother and I go down to South Texas, but we do bird hunt all the time because I can do that in my backyard. This year, and maybe this will be a new Christmas tradition, I shot some doves and then cooked them.
NRA Family: Have you taught anyone else to hunt?
Granger Smith: I have a buddy that just texted me after he recently got a deer with a picture saying, “You taught me well, buddy!” And then of course my kids; that’s gonna be the biggest thing. So much of it right now is just building a mentality of conservation with them so that they can understand wildlife, how special it is and what a gift it is. We love to plant trees and we have bees…to me, it starts with conservation so they understand how important the trees are, how important the grass is by planting seeds together, and they know this is the food the deer eat and the bunnies eat and everything kinda comes together.