Lifestyle & Human Interest

Man with Special Needs Meets and Sings with Hero, Garth Brooks


It was a dream come true for 21-year-old Will Gott, who met his favorite artist, Garth Brooks, before a concert at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Will Gott has been performing Garth Brooks songs in front of people at church and school for years, his mother, Tracy, told WCYB. Gott, who has autism, has found that music helps him communicate with others.

One of the country music fan’s lifetime hopes was to someday meet Brooks in person.

And Gott’s dream came true when he was invited to meet the country music legend before Brooks’ concert at Neyland Stadium on Saturday.

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Gott, wearing his orange Tennessee Volunteers shirt and a cowboy hat, wore a big grin on his face as he met Brooks, who was dressed casually in jeans and a sweatshirt.

Brooks listened cheerfully as Gott sang one of the artist’s most famous songs, “Unanswered Prayers.” At times, Brooks joined Gott as he sang, and at other times, Brooks listened with pleasure as one of his biggest fans sang his heart out.

Will’s mother was overjoyed that her son got to meet his favorite artist.

“I have the utmost respect for him,” Tracy Gott told WCYB of Brooks.

Tracy Gott explained that her son was nonverbal until age 4. Despite his delays, Tracy held out hope that one day, Will would be able to speak.

“I used to cry to my husband and say, ‘If he would just say mom,'” Tracy said.

But Will has come to have quite the vocabulary, including the lyrics to the country songs he holds dear to his heart.

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“I would tell any parents of any special needs child that you have to never give up on them,” Tracy Gott said.

Will is in his final year of high school and will graduate in 2020.

He told WCYB that he would like to get his own tour bus one day so he can hit the road, just like Brooks.

“Every time I write something on my list, I usually check it off my list,” Will said.

Brooks performed at Neyland Stadium that night in front of a record-breaking crowd of over 84,000 people. Three days prior, Brooks took home the entertainer of the year award at the 53rd Annual Country Music Association Awards.

“The CMAs was Christmas Eve, Knoxville that Saturday was Christmas morning for me,” Brooks told ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

“That was a gift right there.”

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A graduate of Grand Canyon University, Kim Davis has been writing for The Western Journal since 2015, focusing on lifestyle stories.
Kim Davis began writing for The Western Journal in 2015. Her primary topics cover family, faith, and women. She has experience as a copy editor for the online publication Thoughtful Women. Kim worked as an arts administrator for The Phoenix Symphony, writing music education curriculum and leading community engagement programs throughout the region. She holds a degree in music education from Grand Canyon University with a minor in eating tacos.
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