Thousands of country fans were on hand for Dierks Bentley’s tenth annual Miles and Music for Kids benefit concert in Nashville Sunday night to catch performances from country superstars like Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, Cole Swindell and Thomas Rhett.
Those singers weren’t the biggest stars of the night, though. That honor went to a brave young man named Dalton Waggoner, who has benefited from the millions of dollars Bentley’s Miles and Music events have raised for Children’s Miracle Networks hospitals.
Waggoner was just a few days old when he had his first open-heart surgery at the Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville. Since then, he has had many additional valve replacement surgeries due to a heart defect. That didn’t stop Waggoner from attending the first of Bentley’s Miles and Music for Kids events in 2005 when he was just two years old.
On Sunday, Waggoner joined Bentley and emcee Storme Warren onstage to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Miles and Music for Kids. After Waggoner’s introduction, the crowd began chanting “Dalton! Dalton! Dalton” as Warren hoisted the young man in the air.
In reference to Bentley’s latest hit, the singer called Waggoner the “Riser of the night.” Waggoner then helped auction off an autographed guitar to the crowd, which raised $45,000 for the cause.
Overall, this year’s Miles and Music for Kids event raised more than $636,000 for Monroe Carell, Jr. Children’s Hospital in Nashville.