Country music stars celebrated the New Year at home over the weekend, while many of them enjoyed a few last days with their families before they hit the road in 2023.

Artists including Lainey Wilson, Scotty McCreery and Blake Shelton will launch new tours in the first six weeks of 2023, with Carrie Underwood and Reba McEntire set to resume their journeys on the road. Dozens of their country music counterparts will follow in their footsteps over the next six months.

Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert and Garth Brooks are set for Las Vegas residencies in 2023. When Brooks’ residency at Caesar’s Palace was announced, he sold out the entire year of concerts in the first day. He immediately added more shows to the schedule.

“My whole life I have heard the saying, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day,'” Brooks said on Instagram. “Well, thanks to God and the people, ours was. Truly grateful and unapologetically excited.”

CMT compiled a list of 2023 Tours and Las Vegas residencies already announced, and more are expected to come in.

HOUSTON (Gray News) – Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles and Wheaties have once again joined forces for a limited-edition box.

The world champion gymnast and Wheaties hosted a “Breakfast of Champions” event in Texas to debut the cereal box.
“I am honored to be featured on my second Wheaties box and grateful for the opportunity to highlight Friends of the Children, an extraordinary organization that is working to make sure other youth have access to mentors and the support to dream big in life,” Biles said.

According to a news release, the box celebrates Biles’ personal journey that has served as a catalyst for her continued support and advocacy for children in foster care, including her efforts with Friends of the Children that have helped the organization launch a new chapter – Friends of the Children–Houston.
“I hope my journey can be an example to all children that anything is possible, and I’m excited to help expand access to resources and mentorship in my hometown,” Biles said.

Biles was reportedly joined by family, friends, and others at the breakfast event where she shared her personal journey to help inspire those to not let life circumstances define who they are or deter them from pursuing their dreams.

The launch of Friends–Houston marks the national organization’s 29th location.

“Friends of the Children could not be more thrilled to announce the Houston chapter launch with Biles and the team at General Mills,” Terri Sorensen, CEO of Friends of the Children, said. “Their support was instrumental in bringing a chapter to Houston.”
Friends–Houston will reportedly begin identifying and welcoming children in the greater Houston area this year. The chapter said its initial focus will be on supporting children and families in the area who have been disproportionately impacted by foster care and other systemic issues.

“It is also such a meaningful moment for our organization and the youth we serve to be featured on the iconic Wheaties box alongside a true champion for youth,” Sorensen said.

Copyright 2023 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

With Franco Morbidelli’s Yamaha MotoGP contract set to end after this season, as is the case for Toprak Razgatlioglu in WorldSBK, Keith Huewen believes we could find out in 2024 if the Turkish star has what it takes to succeed in Grand Prix racing.

Razgatlioglu is arguably the best rider not competing in MotoGP at the moment, and although a move to the premier class didn’t materialise for 2023, it’s not out of the question for such a move to happen next season.

All the factory MotoGP rides are unavailable until the end of 2024 – that’s unless contracts are ended early as we saw with Johann Zarco at KTM for example – with the exception being Morbidelli’s Monster Energy Yamaha seat.
While in WorldSBK every rider except Jonathan Rea is tied into a deal that concludes after this season, meaning Razgatlioglu could be in a perfect position to replace Morbidelli should the latter fail to deliver the performances Yamaha wants.

There’s also the chance Yamaha could choose Razgatlioglu even if Morbidelli does perform relatively well, as the 2021 WorldSBK champion will be in very hot demand from all manufacturers.

Last season proved to be Morbidelli’s worst championship finish since joining MotoGP in 2018, and therefore the pressure to perform will certainly be on the VR46 Academy rider.

When talking about potential options to replace the former Moto2 world champion and runner-up in MotoGP to Joan Mir, Huewen pointed to Razgatlioglu as a very realistic candidate.

Speaking on the MotoGP podcast, Huewen added: “I mean Toprak obviously. It will be interesting – I don’t want to oversell Toprak Razgatlioglu – but he’s obviously brilliant, has a brilliant feel for a motorbike, in fact, anything.

“A scooter; I saw him in a M3 BMW doing donuts the other day. The guy has so much oozing natural talent, but of course, that last 1% you need to be a MotoGP rider, we’ll find out if he’s got it.

“He’s got a good team around. Kenan Sofuoglu, a five-time WorldSSP champion is his manager and is a tough cookie.

“They are pretty much focused on getting Toprak the right ride. Somebody, somewhere, there’s a lot to shake out, there really is. Toprak is obviously hanging around waiting for it.”

Simone Biles brought sporty style to Texas while visiting the Athleta Town & Country Village this week.

The Olympic gymnast arrived in Houston to meet fans at the AthletaWell Gold Medal Groove event on Monday, wearing a black windbreaker. The long-sleeved piece was paired with bright pink leggings, bringing her athletic outfit a vibrant pop of color. Biles finished her ensemble with layered stud earrings, as well as a sparkly pair of small huggie hoops.
When it came to footwear, Biles laced into a pair of sneakers from the FNAA’s 2021 Brand of the Year, On Running. Her $160 Cloudnova style featured partially recycled uppers crafted with paneled gray, black and white mesh, topped with white woven laces. Thick squared rubber soles with On’s signature lightweight insoles completed the set with a comfortable finish. Though Biles’ $160 colorway is currently out of stock, other colors can be found on On Running’s website.

Simone Biles attend the AthletaWell
When it comes to shoes, Biles tends to keep her selections classic and minimalist. The Gold Over America tour headliner has been seen in numerous pairs of sneakers by Nike during her last partnership with the athletic brand, and was recently spotted wearing APL’s TechLoom Bliss. For formal occasions, she can be seen in strappy sandals, platform and peep-toe pumps by Christian Louboutin, Saint Laurent, Schutz and Badgley Mischka. Biles also holds a long-term partnership with Athleta, where she will debut her own line of performance-wear and be a partner for the brand’s active and athleisure apparel.

While recent statements from Ducati personnel might have suggested a move to sign six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez was possible in the future, Paolo Ciabatti has seemingly squashed such thoughts.

Ciabatti did not rule out the possibility of Marquez joining Ducati completely, however, it’s evident to the Ducati Corse Sporting Director that focusing on younger MotoGP talent that’s already contracted to the Italian brand is the main priority.
This comes after Ducati General Manager, Luigi Dall’Igna, left the door open to Marquez joining Ducati by saying: “In life you can never know or say.”

Every Ducati rider on the grid is younger than Marquez, with the exception being Pramac’s Johann Zarco who is 32 years of age – Marquez is 29.

But while age is just one ingredient that many of the other Ducati riders have on their side compared to Marquez, so is the experience and level of performance many of them have shown aboard Ducati machinery.

Francesco Bagnaia has already become MotoGP champion, while the addition of Enea Bastianini to the Factory Lenovo Ducati Team means they have arguably the best rider pairing on the grid.

Then there’s Jorge Martin who is perhaps the most naturally talented of all Ducati’s riders, while Marco Bezzecchi, who was extremely impressive as a rookie, and Luca Marini have bags of potential too.

Motogp became apparent

In an interview with Tony Vacarella on Instagram, Ciabatti said: “Marc Marquez is a fantastic rider, but he is 5 or 6 years older than the riders we have. So we prefer to focus on the riders who are growing with Ducati.

“Marc and Alex live together and share a lot of things, so I have no doubts that Marc will ask Alex how things are going… But our plans are different.”

Focusing within the Ducati project as opposed to potential signings down the road, Ciabatti could be facing the tough task of keeping the partnership between Bagnaia and Bastianini civil as both riders are expected to fight for the title.

Championship fights between teammates have been few and far between in recent years, but given the form both men showed last season, and the performance of the bike, it’s a distinct possibility in 2023.

Speaking on how he will handle the two Italian riders, Ciabatti added: “Some people ask me how I manage to manage two Italian riders. I answer that it is better to manage two riders who can win the world championship than who cannot.”

It’s fair to say that five-time MotoGP race winner Alex Rins has had a storied career up until this point, with plenty of highs and lows – with some of the latter very much of his own making.

Yet it’s hard not to feel sorry for the former Suzuki rider, having what should have been an excellent opportunity in 2022 snatched away from him – and left with an uncertain future given the fallout from a turbulent season.
Ironically the moment at which he’s dropped out of the ranks of factory MotoGP riders is at the point he’s fully restored the reputation he had when he arrived on the grid – a reputation that had taken quite a battering since then. But based on his career so far, the situation he now finds himself in for 2023 could send him back off course.

Rins first joined the premier class in 2017, stepping up to Suzuki after only two seasons and four wins in Moto2. He was making the move before some perhaps believed he was ready for it, but veteran team boss Davide Brivio clearly saw the potential that others had missed in the then-21-year-old Spaniard, and Rins was an immediate success in the team even at a difficult time in its development path.

He joined as part of an all-new line-up alongside Andrea Iannone. The plan was that the relative veteran Italian would lead the GSX-RR’s development while Rins learned his trade in the premier class – but he quickly took on more and more responsibility within the team as the issues that it faced became apparent.

Motogp became apparent

With Rins making his debut at the end-of-season tests in Valencia and Jerez, responsibility for choosing the direction of the team’s homologated and unchangeable engine specification fell to Iannone – and it went in the wrong direction, giving the team a millstone around its neck that it was forced to carry for the rest of the season.

Then came the Grand Prix of the Americas in Texas, only three rounds in, where a bad crash and consequently a broken wrist left Rins sitting out two months of racing, badly affecting his debut season’s progression.

The 2018 season began better with a first podium in the second round in Argentina, but it also established something of a pattern for Rins: when he’s fast, he’s blisteringly fast, but he’s also inconsistent and (at that point in his career at least) doesn’t respond well under pressure.

That went on to be a trend not just throughout the season but for the next three as well, with 2019, 2020 and 2021 very much establishing him as a consistent challenger for podiums and someone capable of winning on his day – but also as a rider who was as likely to fall off while leading as he was to ride off to the victory.

Winning three times in three seasons, at Austin, Silverstone and Aragon, his mid-term years at Suzuki are as likely to be remembered for those victories as they are for the succession of crashes when good results were on offer – a trend that unfortunately culminated at the Catalan Grand Prix in 2021.

Unable to finish the previous four races, he needed a result at his home race to get back on track, but in the end, didn’t even get to start. Cycling to the track on Thursday before practice started, Rins rather foolishly rode straight into the back of a parked van on the Barcelona circuit’s main straight while sending a text message, breaking his wrist and eliminating himself from the weekend.

It might have been an absolutely dumb thing to do, but it was also seemingly the kick up the arse that he needed to get himself straight, oddly enough. Crashing only twice in the remaining 11 races of the year and returning to the podium at Silverstone, it looked like Rins was finally on the right course, something that he backed up when 2022 kicked off.

Fast from the very beginning – and arguably more competitive than team-mate and 2020 world champion Joan Mir for the first time in their shared time together – Rins chalked up two podiums and two more top five finishes from the first five races, meaning that he left the Portuguese Grand Prix tied with reigning champion Fabio Quartararo at the top of the standings and with Suzuki firmly in control of the teams’ championship.

And that’s where things all went wrong again for Rins – albeit this time completely out of his control. Suzuki announced at the next round of the series that it would be unexpectedly departing from the championship at the end of the year, and the squad’s title aspirations immediately came to an end as both riders dipped in form.

Rins returned to previous habits, failing to score a point for five consecutive races and then ending up anonymous for most of the rest of the year – or at least until MotoGP headed to Phillip Island for the Australian Grand Prix in October.

There, we got a sharp reminder of just how talented Rins is, with a stunning victory over Marc Marquez and eventual world champion Pecco Bagnaia – a win that he backed up in fairytale style at Valencia a few weeks later when he made sure that Suzuki signed off in style by winning what looks set to be its last ever race in the series.

But, while he might have signed off spectacularly for Suzuki, it didn’t change the fact that he had been left unemployed for 2023. Deep in negotiations to stay with the team when the exit bombshell landed, both he and Mir were left to look elsewhere, and while his former team-mate found a factory seat at Repsol Honda, Rins was less fortunate, being forced to settle for satellite status at LCR Honda.

And what that holds in store for his future might not be fantastic news. Jumping from the friendliest bike in the series in the form of the Suzuki onto a career-killing, rider-breaking Honda that is the very antithesis of the GSX-RR, Rins needs to be careful that he doesn’t revert to old ways in the coming season.

Should he do so, or even if he’s not able to dramatically outperform predecessor Alex Marquez’s past results, then it’s very hard to see a way back to full factory status for him in the future even despite his prodigious talent.

Hardly old at 27, he’s nonetheless a veteran in MotoGP terms, and in a series renowned for its cutthroat nature and desire to always look at age and potential over experience track record, it, unfortunately, might well be that Suzuki’s demise also spells the beginning of the end to Alex Rins’ time as a MotoGP rider with the machinery capable of fighting for race wins.

Simone Biles, who teamed up with Wheaties, told E! News how she knew NFL player Jonathan Owens was a keeper. Get the heartwarming details below!
Simone Biles’ relationship with fiancé Jonathan Owens reached all-star status long before he proposed.

“I knew he was the one when I first met his mom,” Simone told E! News’ Francesca Amiker in an exclusive interview. “She has a little bit of a disability with her walking, she’s gotten a lot stronger, but how he treated his mother and how he treats women, I was like, ‘Wow.'”

She’s felt that way every moment since, including when the Houston Texans player got down on one knee in February 2022.

“Almost weekly he brings me flowers,” the Olympic gold medalist shared. “It’s kind of cliché but it’s just so cute because, after his practices from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., he still takes the time to put a smile on my face.”

And the couple will have a lot more to smile about. “The wedding is coming up,” Simone teased. “I’m super excited about it. I’m stressed out.”

While she and Jonathan are still figuring out the kinks, she’s already picked out her bridesmaids’ getting-ready outfits and what she called a “very classic and elegant” theme.

“Our colors are white, gold and champagne,” she said. “Jonathan likes ice cream cake so we’re going to get that for the groom’s cake. I’m more of a red velvet girl, so red velvet or a lemon cake—we’ll see.”

Simone's new partnership

Wedding cake decisions aside, Simone’s new partnership will serve breakfast of champions. Teaming up with Wheaties and Friends of the Children—a nationwide nonprofit dedicated to the ongoing mentorship of youth—the 25-year-old revealed she manifested the collaboration without even realizing it.

“I was like, ‘OMG, I made it. I’ve made an impact on the sport, on the little girls in the gym world,'” she said of the opportunity. “My first championship, I was 16 and I had just won it, my teammates made a fake Wheaties box for me. That was in my childhood room and it’s still there.”

And being able to work with the nonprofit organization and foster care kids hits close to home, as she was in and out of foster care until she was adopted by her maternal grandfather Ronald and his wife Nellie in 2000.

“I was in foster care whenever I was younger,” she said, adding that it’s a great feeling to mentor others. “That’s something that everybody needs, especially in the foster care community, is somebody to hold their hand or be a helping hand and say, ‘You can do this. I believe in you. I’m here for you.'”

Simone Biles exclusively shared with E! News how she kept a homemade Wheaties box with her face on it in her childhood bedroom as motivation. See how it compares to her actual Wheaties box.
Dreams come true when you set your mind to it. Just ask Simone Biles.

Years before she stuck a perfect landing on the front of a Wheaties box, the four-time Olympic gold medalist actually kept a homemade version that had her face on it in her childhood bedroom. In an exclusive interview with E! News’ Francesca Amiker, Simone—who is now an actual partner of Wheaties and Friends of the Children, a nationwide nonprofit dedicated to the ongoing mentorship of youth—looked back at how she manifested the collaboration.

“It was my first world championship: I was 16, I had just won it and my teammates made a fake Wheaties box for me and put my picture on it,” she recalled. “That was actually in my childhood room—and it’s still there! I just think that’s the cutest thing, to just have that to look up [to] every day.”

So, when Simone learned that the iconic cereal brand will be releasing a new limited edition box featuring her visage and life story, it was a complete full circle moment.
“I was like, ‘Yes! That is my lifelong dream,'” the 25-year-old said. “As a sports athlete, you want to be the greatest. You want to be the best. You want to be able to put your name out there and be proud of everything that you’ve accomplished.”

What’s more, Simone loves how her Wheaties box highlights her work with foster kids. As someone who was in and out of foster care until she was adopted by her maternal grandfather Ronald and his wife Nellie in 2000, the gymnast believes it’s important to show the community that there’s “somebody to hold their hand and say, ‘Hey, you guys can do this. I believe in you.'”

“This box is really special,” explained Simone, who first appeared on a Wheaties box back in June 2022. “This is a little bit of a deeper dive into what I’m passionate about and why I do the things that I do.”

She continued, “As a young girl growing up in foster care, I always wanted to make an impact, but I didn’t know how impactful or big I could become just by speaking out.”

And by sharing her own journey, the athlete hopes to “make a huge impact on those kids like, ‘Wow, look how far Simone’s made it. Look at the work that she does.'”

As Simone quipped, “How much more impactful can be if it was on a Wheaties box?”

Francesco Guidotti, Team Manager of the factory KTM MotoGP team, has called the media ban that was imposed on journalists for the Sepang Shakedown test, which has since been reversed, ‘unacceptable’.

Guidotti, who has been in his current role with KTM since the beginning of the 2022 MotoGP season following his departure from Pramac Ducati, feels it was an unnecessary decision to make.
Initially, journalists were scheduled to be banned from entering the circuit which would have meant a behind-closed-doors test.

And while all media that attends the Shakedown test are still unable to enter pit lane, the ban on entering the circuit has now been lifted.

A very strange decision, Guidotti has stated that KTM are not one of the manufacturers that were in favour of such a ban. Aprilia has also said it did not ask for it.

Speaking to, Guidotti said: “I was really surprised by the news. We’ve always had the shakedown in Sepang, for how many years, 20? I don’t remember. Initially they were private tests, which we teams organised then with constant decrease in tests they became IRTA for organisational reasons.

“We told them: at this point you organise them, it’s easier and smoother. I learned in recent days of the ban on you journalists to stay in the pit lane. Honestly, saying it 15 days before, I find this unacceptable.
Motogp unacceptable
“KTM has no problems, we are open and we have no prejudices about the presence of journalists.
“On the contrary. I think that while waiting to organise things better, this year we could have let it go and left everything the way it was.”

The Italian did not give away which brand wanted the ban to be imposed, however, it’s thought to have been a Japanese manufacturer.

Guidotti added: “Yes it’s the usual manufacturer. They complained because during the tests they have to put the panels in front of the bikes when they go back to the pits, but we’re talking about nothing.

“Communication is convenient for everyone, let’s be clear. If they have something to hide, then hide it.”

Riders involved during next month’s Sepang Shakedown test include MotoGP rookie Augusto Fernandez and test riders Dani Pedrosa, Cal Crutchlow, Michele Pirro, Stefan Bradl and Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori.

The Olympic gymnast is taking lessons learned from athletics and applying them to her next chapter.
Simone Biles knows a thing or two about perseverance. And the decorated Olympic gymnast took to the stage at the National Retail Federation convention on Monday morning to share some tips about how to overcome adversity — both in athletics and in business.

“Growing up in the gymnastics world and having to go through a lot of trials and tribulations taught me to never give up — always push forward,” she said. “Sometimes if you make decisions, you might be the only one standing that believes in yourself. At those times, you really have to dig deep and think of the reason why you’re doing it, who you are, what you stand for, what you want to accomplish.”

She said that, growing up, her mother would call her and her siblings into the room in January and ask them to write down their goals for the year. When she was young, it was easy, but as she got older, she realized “failure was an option.”

“So I kind of changed my perspective on how I looked at that,” she said. “OK, there’s Plan A, then there’s Plan B if that doesn’t work — and then there’s the rest of the alphabet.”

As it turns out, Biles found success at a young age — she was only 19 at her first Olympics — but instead of resting on her laurels, she developed new goals. “What do you do when you reach your dreams at 19?” she asked. “That’s a really good question. So I said, this is going to be just the beginning. And I’m going to make a platform, and I’m going to do whatever I can to be happy and confident and hopefully inspire people.”

As she embarks on the next phase of her life beyond gymnastics, Biles said she’ll continue to use the skills she learned on the mat to excel in business.

“I was a persistent kid,” she said. “If someone told me I couldn’t do something, then I had to prove that I could. And that’s carried on throughout my career. I look at other athletes and their paths from the athletic world into business and strive to follow a similar path.”

Embracing teamwork in both athletics and business is also paramount, she believes. In gymnastics, her success was due in part to her doctors, therapists, parents and teammates. “It does take a village, and I think people tend to forget that, especially in athletics,” she said.

She said she was actually barred from competing in the most recent Games because she was not mentally fit and could injure herself. She said there was a lot going on behind closed doors that people didn’t know about, such as a stalker who was outside her gym every day for seven months and other issues that took their toll on her mental health.

But by going public with her struggle, Biles brought the issue to the forefront and made the previously taboo subject “something normal that everybody may go through sometime in their life. It’s OK to not be OK.”

“I think as an athlete, you kind of learn to navigate and search your brain and to turn it on and turn it off. And I realized there can be happiness outside of gymnastics.”

One of Biles’ first moves outside of the gym came in 2021 when she signed a long-term partnership deal with Athleta with a particular focus on Athleta Girl, which targets six- to 13-year-olds. She said she wanted to work with the company because it was “by women, for women,” and offers a selection for all sizes and shapes. And the company didn’t just support Simone Biles, the gymnast, but rather “just Simone,” she said.

The Athleta Girl initiative, in particular, is near and dear to her since she codesigns special capsules for this young customer. The collection features inspirational sayings in hidden spots of the garments, such as the waistband, including: “Because I Can,” or “Courage Is Your Superpower” as a way to empower these girls, she said. “It’s like having a little Simone on your shoulder.”

Will that Simone be in Paris for the next Summer Olympics? Biles said she’s “trying to figure it out right now. Obviously, mental health comes first. I’m still in therapy and I’m still doing everything so that I can be the best version of myself. So I’ll be in Paris, but don’t know if that is on the floor with those girls or in the stands just cheering.”