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Reckless Kelly's annual softball jam mixes sport and music

Brian T. Atkinson

Reckless Kelly's Celebrity Softball Jam boasts a couple dozen musical heroes both well established (Hayes Carll, Kevin Fowler, Los Lonely Boys) and rapidly rising (Hudson Moore, Kyle Park). As always, Reckless brothers Cody and Willy Braun lead the charge.

"We're looking for a really good crowd out there," Cody Braun says. "It's a really neat all-day event, a lot of fun for everyone involved and a unique concert experience for the fans." The fourth annual gathering takes place Sunday at Dell Diamond in Round Rock.

American-Statesman: Explain why you started the softball jam in 2009.

Cody Braun: We were at a Round Rock (Express) game and started talking about how much fun it'd be to play on that field. We all grew up playing baseball and talked about starting a league but we're all gone so much. We thought, "What if we could come up here and play a game?" That morphed into, "What if we got a bunch of our friends together to do a game and a concert?"

How much has this event grown over the past couple years?

The whole idea caught on much quicker than we thought. We had 6,000 people show up the first year and the second year was right around the same and last year we had a few more and this year ticket sales are way above what they were last year.

How does the music after the game work?

The bands get up and do 15 or 20 minutes and then it's on to the next thing. It's really action packed.

Is it a challenge to organize every year?

It really is, (but) we're lucky. We have a lot of really great friends in the Austin and Texas music communities. Finding people hasn't been a problem. The hardest part is making sure we have enough room to get everybody on the ball field (laughs).

How do you pick who will do the anthem with so many singers hanging around?

(He laughs.) Well, my brother Willy and I did it the first couple years and last year we had (former Trick Pony singer) Heidi Newfield. This year I think Willy and I are going to do it again. Willy and I manage the teams, so it's funny to have competing managers do the anthem. Everybody's singing along on the sidelines, that's for sure (laughs).

How competitive are you and your brother?

I'm there for the fun of it and mess with him as much as possible. Last year was our (team's) first year to win. We goof around a lot with jokes and pranks. Willy takes it a lot more seriously than I do, (but) just messing with him is as fun as anything I can think of.

Do you have a ringer on your team this year?

Yeah, I do: Cat Osterman. (Willy) has Kevin Millar. Greg Swindell has been on my team the last several years. Ahmad Brooks is on my team. The Boone brothers are coming back. The major league athletes definitely add to the poor playing we put forth. Musicians aren't the most athletic group (laughs).

Describe Hayes Carll as a softball player.

He's actually not bad. He's pretty quick and has a good eye for the ball. He's been on my team the past two years, and we're good buddies. It's funny. We have a lot of friends who are baseball players and when we get together they're always wishing they were musicians. We're always wishing that we were baseball players.