Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney’s Arrest Story Sounds Like An Old Western Movie

Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney’s wild arrest story proves that when it comes to raising a bit of cowboy hell, those two don’t just talk the talk. Indeed, the rowdy pair ended up walking the walk right into the back of an Erie County Sheriff’s Deputy vehicle after the 2000 incident.

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The altercation occurred near Buffalo, New York after both singers performed at the George Strait Country Music Festival at the Buffalo Bills stadium. But what started as a bit of horsing around (pun intended) ended in much more serious repercussions, including McGraw’s felony charge for allegedly assaulting a police officer in Chesney’s defense.

Kenny Chesney Was The First To Horse Around

Aptly nicknamed the “horse incident,” the scuffle between the country stars and law enforcement officers started after the show when Chesney asked a sheriff deputy’s daughter if he could mount her father’s horse. As Chesney rode off on the horse, both the daughter and nearby officers began yelling for the musician to stop. Whether hopped up on post-show adrenaline or some post-show libations, Chesney ignored their calls and kept riding.

Two deputies attempted to physically remove Chesney from the horse, which is where McGraw entered the story. Seeing that his colleague was running into some trouble, McGraw ran toward the chaotic scene and jumped one police officer, wrapping his arm around the cop’s neck in a chokehold. The Erie County Sheriff later clarified, “Now, I’m not suggesting he was trying to really choke him. But he had him with his arm around his neck, and he was holding on” (via 100.3 The Wolf).

McGraw’s road manager, Mark Russo, also entered the brouhaha, and law enforcement officers arrested all three men. The sheriff’s office charged Chesney with disorderly conduct and Russo with disorderly conduct, harassment, and resisting arrest. McGraw walked away with the most charges, including the felony charge of assaulting an officer plus resisting arrest, menacing, and obstructing government administration.

How Tim McGraw and Kenny Chesney’s Arrest Panned Out

McGraw, Chesney, and Russo left jail the following day, and the two country stars performed at the country festival again that night. One day after that, Chesney released a statement: “Unfortunately, what was meant to be a totally innocent and fun gesture was blown way out of proportion. Tim McGraw and I have been friends for a very long time. When he saw me in danger of being harmed, he simply came over to help out his friend.”

Chesney went on to say that the incident caused McGraw and Chesney to become even closer. Moreover, he said, “We certainly did not mean to offend anyone. We just came to New York to give Buffalo a great concert” (via MTV). The trio returned to Buffalo for court the following year, where a judge found Chesney and Russo not guilty. The court dropped McGraw’s charges as well, eliminating the very real possibility that McGraw would walk away from the “horse incident” as a convicted felon.

The incident sparked mixed reactions from the local New York community. “They’re having fun. That’s all they’re doing,” one fan told 7 News (via YouTube). “There’s a difference,” another said while attending a youth baseball game. “This is boys being boys. Nobody’s getting hurt.” Regardless, McGraw and Chesney have returned to the area countless times to perform with no trouble.

Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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