If you're new to the Abilene area, like I am, you may be surprised at some of the big names and unforgettable faces that have roots in the Big Country.

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Abilene Christian University has been the collegiate starting point for a variety of movers and shakers, from politicians to country music stars. Do any of these famous ACU alums surprise you?

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It's particularly interesting to see how many country music artists show up on this list, and some of them are pretty big stars.

Most Abilene locals are familiar with Aaron Watson, an independent Texas country singer-songwriter who's found lots of touring and sales success in Texas and beyond. He's known for his devout faith and his charity-focused performances in the Big Country, seeing as he still resides in the Abilene area. Talk about "hometown, through and through."

Zane Williams is another former ACU Wildcat who's had extensive success in the Texas country scene.

The biggest star of all on this list caught me off guard — Ronnie Dunn, one-half of the award-winning country duo Brooks & Dunn, is a native of nearby Coleman, Texas. While enrolled at Abilene Christian University, Dunn served as a youth and music minister at Avoca Baptist Church in Avoca, Texas. He teamed up with Kix Brooks and the duo released their first album as Brooks & Dunn in 1991 and have sold over 30 million albums.

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