When national touring artists stop at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, they leave with a little reminder of our Minnesota Nice. This series examines the locally made treasures given to these celebrity visitors.

Kicking off the Xcel Energy Center’s first show of 2014 is a performer who’s both familiar with the venue — and quite familiar with Minnesota’s love of the outdoors.

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Jason Aldean, who will return to the X on Friday for the fourth time, also owns a hunting company called Buck Commander, along with Willie Robertson of Duck Dynasty, Luke Bryan and several current and former MLB players.

The crew also has its own TV show on the Outdoor Channel and as you can see, while Aldean certainly has the passion, he doesn’t always have the luck.

Hoping to help change his hunting curse, while giving him a memento of his tour stop, the Xcel Energy Center paired up with Gander Mountain (whose corporate headquarters are in St. Paul) to come up with a specially made 2013 Diamond Outlaw Infinity Bow for the country superstar.

We chatted with Gander Mountain spokesman Jess Myers to get the details.


How did this partnership with Xcel Energy Center come about?

This is Gander Mountain’s first time offering a gift to a visiting artist, but high-profile events like this aren’t rare for Gander Mountain, and our name is well-known at Xcel Energy Center. We have sponsored the Gander Mountain Penalty Kill at Minnesota Wild games all season, and have worked closely with members of the Wild and the Twins on popular outdoor events like Fish with the Wild, Lefties Lunkers and Hunt with the Wild. Through our friendships with folks at the arena, we were honored they thought of Gander Mountain as a perfect gift-giver for an outdoors lover like Jason Aldean.

How familiar were you with Jason Aldean before this request?

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His body of work as a country artist is world-renowned, but among the folks who work for Gander Mountain, and countless friends who shop with us, Jason Aldean is almost as well-known as a passionate outdoorsman. Knowing that, it was a natural fit for Gander Mountain to offer him a nice gift from Minnesota. We are the nation’s largest and fastest-growing network of outdoors stores with locations in 25 states, but we’re based right here in Minnesota, so it made perfect sense.

What was your process in coming up with his gift idea?

It was just a simple brainstorm, with a few folks from Xcel Energy Center providing details on some of the past gifts they’ve given and a few of us from Gander Mountain discussing a memorable but functional gift that we could provide. And we had no shortage of volunteers from Gander Mountain who offered to personally deliver the gift to Mr. Aldean.

Tell us a little about the finished product.

We’re giving Jason Aldean a custom-wrapped Diamond Outlaw bow in a protective carrying case. The bow and the case will be emblazoned with the logo of the Night Train tour and the Gander Mountain logo, to serve as a reminder of what we’re sure will be a great night at Xcel Energy Center. The total retail value is well north of $500, and this is a top-of-the-line compound bow that’s for sale in all dozen Gander Mountain stores in the state.

(credit: Xcel Energy Center)

The custom-wrapped Diamond Outlaw Bow with a protective carrying case for Jason Aldean. The bow and the case are emblazoned with the logo of Aldean’s Night Train Tour and the Gander Mountain logo. The total retail value is more than $500.

(credit: Xcel Energy Center)

What are your hopes for Mr. Aldean’s reaction upon receiving the gift?

A really nice thing about this gift from Gander Mountain is it gives Jason Aldean the option of displaying it as a memento of his visit to St. Paul and/or using it the next time he’s bowhunting. This bow is identical to the one used by countless hunters in Minnesota and throughout the country in their pursuit of deer each fall, so it’s a memento, but it’s also quite functional in the field.

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Jason Aldean, with special guests Florida Georgia Line and Tyler Farr, will bring his 2014 Night Train Tour at 7:30 p.m. Friday to Xcel Energy Center. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information, click here.