2004 Breakouts

Big & Rich

NAMES Big Kenny and John Rich AGES 41 and 30 HOMETOWNS Culpeper, Va., and Amarillo, Tex. THEIR BREAKOUT MOMENT With their platinum debut album, Horse of a Different Color, and the hip-hop-flavored video for their hit single, ''Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy),'' the duo just might be country's first homeboys on the range. LESSONS LEARNED FROM TOILING IN OBSCURITY ''The persistent always win in this business,'' says Rich, who was squeezed out of country group Lonestar in 1998. Adds Big Kenny, ''Any time that you're doing anything other than focusing on being great is a waste of time.'' FIRST MAJOR PURCHASE Rich graduated from a pickup to a 2005 C6 Corvette (''It's the first real car I've ever owned''), while both guys are enjoying new Harleys — courtesy of friend Tim McGraw. BIGGEST ADJUSTMENT TO FAME ''Not drinking as much,'' says Rich. USELESS TRIVIA ''I can recite all the prepositions in alphabetical order,'' says Rich. Big Kenny, meanwhile, was a teenage entrepreneur: ''In high school I planted 20,000 Christmas trees.'' WHAT'S NEXT Coheadlining a tour with Gretchen Wilson, and working on a project Big Kenny calls ''a possible Broadway thing, codenamed Rock Star.''

Originally posted Dec 13, 2004 Published in issue #797 Dec 17, 2004 Order article reprints