Predators superfan Cooper Smith enjoyed an unforgettable experience during Monday night's game against the Edmonton Oilers, winning the Sing for Your Speaker contest and earning the approval of a country music icon in the process.
"I was waiting for Sing for Your Speaker to come up, and it came, and the camera guy ended up being right in front of my section, so as soon as I stood up he picked me out," Smith said. "'Friends In Low Places' by Garth Brooks came on, and obviously being from Nashville I have to know all the lyrics to that song."
Smith lip-synced his heart out, not knowing that Brooks himself was also in attendance, until the country singer appeared on the Megatron and saluted Smith with a tip of his hat and two big thumbs up.
"It was pretty crazy," Smith said. "I've only ever heard stories of Garth Brooks being nice, so now I have my own nice Garth encounter to share."
Apart from earning the respect of one of country music's biggest names, Monday night's scoreboard appearance was nothing new for Smith. In fact, this season he'd already won two other in-game fan contests.
"I won the Walmart Loudest Fan when we played the Dallas Stars and I also won the Fan of the Game against the L.A. Kings, so I was kind of on a mission to win Sing For Your Speaker as well, just to hit them all in one season," Smith said. "It's pretty much become a running joke with my friends at this point that I end up on the screen at some point or another during games."
Still, Monday night's experience was a special way to complete the in-game contest hat trick, Smith said.
"Shout out to Garth Brooks for being the ultimate country legend and shout out to the Preds for putting my dumb butt on the screen every game," Smith said with a laugh. "Now I just need to get some kind of iconic gear to wear, I've got to step up my game."