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Riders in the Sky will perform cowboy music with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra

Ranger Doug is a happy cowboy. He and his fellow cowboys, Riders in the Sky, had just won the Western Music Association's Entertainers of the Year award in Albuquerque.

Could Ranger Doug, Too Slim, Woody Paul and Joey the Cowpolka King rest on their laurels?

No. They were on their motor home, on their way to another gig in Salt Lake City.

Riders in the Sky will be performing with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra tonight at 7 p.m.

The band first started performing 30 years ago. Three of them are still in the band. "We're grayer now," Ranger Doug said. "It sneaks up on you. I saw a picture of us, and I wondered who that old guy is. I said, 'Wait a minute. It's me.'

"But it's been a great, great run. We're booked into 2009."

Performing with a symphony orchestra is different than when they're playing by themselves, he said. But it's still a beautiful sound, he said.

"One reason we're hired is to bring people in the doors," Ranger Doug said. "Our music introduces people to the symphony. And the symphony audience is introduced to western music."

The concert is 7:30 tonight in the Bill Heard Theatre, RiverCenter for the Performing Arts, 900 Broadway.

Holiday specials including Santa Claus' arrival on a fire truck to light up the RiverCenter. And there will be sugar cookies and apple cider during intermission.

Tickets: $27-$35; $25-$30 for seniors 60 and older; $21-$24 for students and enlisted military; $10 student rush tickets 30 minutes before the concert; $5 for children 11 and younger.

Call 706-323-5059 or 706-256-3612.

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