You Will Not Believe How Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett and Dierks Bentley are Giving Back at the ACMs

by Sophie Schillaci 2:16 PM PDT, April 19, 2015
Playing You Will Not Believe How Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett and Dierks Bentley are Giving Back at the ACMs

Country culture may be known for its "work hard, play hard" mentality, but Luke Bryan, Thomas Rhett and Dierks Bentley are definitely taking "play hard" to a new -- and very charitable -- level.

The trio are just a few of the stars giving back in Dallas, proving there's more to ACMs weekend than just awards.

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Rhett stepped up his checkers game with co-host Kellie Pickler at the Cracker Barrel Human Checkers competition on Saturday, with each singer enlisting the help of fans and celebs alike (among the players: Rhett's dad Rhett Akins, Jamie Lynn Spears, Kristian Bush, Dan + Shay, Cassadee Pope and Scotty McCreery) for a little friendly competition and to raise funds for both the United Service Organizations and the Disabled American Veterans.

"Any time we have the opportunity to shine a light on our service men and women and our veterans, we jump on that," said Pickler. "It's all about them today."

(To see exactly what "human checkers" entails, check out the video above.)

In the end, Cracker Barrel donated $35,000 to Lifting Lives, $25,000 to USO and $10,000 to DAV.

"It's a win-win for sure, even if we lose," Rhett said. "I love that [the ACMs] does this stuff and let the artists do something like this to have fun. It makes it not really work it makes it a good time for us and a good time for the fans."

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The fans were out in full force on Saturday where, earlier in the day, Spears joined stars like Dustin Lynch, Tyler Farr and the Duck Dynasty guys in lending their talents to an epic face-off between Bryan and Justin Moore, who together co-hosted the ACM and Cabela's Great Outdoor Archery Event. The annual event served to encourage fans to unplug, powering down their cell phones for the day, as well as raising funds and awareness for the Make a Wish foundation. (After admitting defeat last year, Bryan's team walked away with the W, but there were no hard feelings at the end of the day."

"One of my favorite things about country music and being part of it, is that most of us are really good friends -- including Luke and I," Moore said on the camo carpet.

Meanwhile, Dierks Bentley hit the road in the annual ACM Motorcycle Ride and Concert event, benefitting the Lifting Lives organization, local abuse advocacy groups and military philanthropies. Over at the Brookhaven Country Club, Darius Rucker hosted the ACM Lifting Lives Celebrity Golf Classic for the fourth consecutive year, teaming up with Charles Kelley, Chris Young and more to raise funds for the Diane Holcomb Emergency Relief Fund.

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All this comes just one day after Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood hosted the first ever Lifting Lives benefit gala on Friday evening, co-hosted by ET's own Nancy O'Dell and Montel Williams, with performances from Keith Urban, Lady Antebellum, Hunter Hayes, Little Big Town and The Band Perry.

Not only are these quirky events a great way to let loose and do good, it's also a time for the stars to connect with fans.

"There's so many things going on this type of weekend for the fans [and] something like this is exciting for these fans because they obviously care who we are as entertainers in the music that we record and write, but I think it matters to them that they know who we are as people before they invest in us as artists. I think these are the type of events that give them insight into who we are as people," said Moore.

Follow Sophie on Twitter & Instagram for the latest from Dallas, and ETonline will have your all-access pass into Sunday's ceremony.