Challenger Invades Ryman Auditorium
Nashville, TN Nov. 21, 2010 — ‘Challenger,’ the Bald Eagle, was presented during The Charlie Daniels Band’s performance of In America at the Grand Ole Opry show at the Ryman auditorium Saturday, November 20, 2010.
Challenger is a non-releasable Bald Eagle cared for by the non-profit American Eagle Foundation. Since 1991, this majestic bird has been a free-flying educational ambassador for his recovering species in the wild.
He was blown from his Louisiana nest in a storm at five weeks of age — was rescued and hand-raised by well-meaning people. As a result, he became human-imprinted for life. Named in honor of the lost space shuttle crew, Challenger has performed free-flights during the USA’s National Anthem at hundreds of events coast to coast — raising substantial public awareness for the Bald Eagle protection cause.
He is the first Bald Eagle in American history trained to free-fly into stadiums and arenas during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner. He has helped educate millions of people about the need to protect the USA’s National Bird.
Legendary keyboardist and Late Show sidekick Paul Shaffer joined the Opry lineup Saturday night along with Marty Stuart, Connie Smith, Charley Pride and Radney Foster.