It was an epic concert that's given a Middletown kid the best summer ever.
Middletown has a new celebrity. She’s 10-year-old Rylee Mancuso.
Her 15 minutes of fame came when she was brought on stage at a Kenny Chesney concert at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa., on June 9.
The concert at The Linc, home to the Philadelphia Eagles, featured members of the Superbowl winning Eagles on stage, including coach Doug Peterson, Zach Ertz and Rylee’s favorite player: Carson Wentz.
She said her big moment came near the end of the concert when Wentz was looking in the crowd to bring someone on stage.
“My dad was holding me up on his shoulders and Carson was like, ‘right here, Kenny, right here,’” Rylee said.
The 10-year-old said she caught Wentz’s attention because she kept screaming: “Me, me, me!”
On stage, Rylee received an Eagles helmet that was autographed by members of the team and Chesney.
“I remember having an amazing time and being able to meet Kenny Chesney, Thomas Rhett and Carson Wentz,” Rylee said. “I wasn’t just having an amazing time, but I was really appreciative, because not many kids get to get on stage and meet cool people.”
Rick Hutchison, Rylee’s dad, said his daughter was “thrown up” on stage by a good Samaritan, a stranger his daughter befriended in the crowd.
Hutchison said he was proud to see his little girl brushing shoulders with big-time entertainers.
“I just pointed to her with my hand and I made a heart on my chest and said, ‘I love you,” Hutchison said.
Prior to receiving the helmet, opener Thomas Rhett gave Rylee his Randall Cunningham jersey from off his back, earlier in the show, Hutchison said.
Two more strangers, both women from Middletown, placed the petite Rylee on their shoulders and helped to fend off fans from getting their hands on the jersey Rhett eventually gave to her, Hutchinson said.
“I couldn’t thank these ladies enough,” he said. “I hope my daughters do that for some other little kids if they get the chance in the future.”
Rylee said she managed to stand out in the crowd all night because of her size.
“I’m small for my age,” she said. “I feel like if I wasn’t on my dad’s shoulders, I wouldn’t have been able to be [seen].”
Her dad said it didn’t hurt she was one of the only kids in the audience.
Rylee’s aunt, Stacy Hutchison, wasn’t at the concert. But she didn’t have to be there to understand something she already knew: her niece has a way of becoming the center of attention.
“Her personality is bigger than her,” she said. “We go down to the beach every year at Paradise Grill. It seems like every year she always ends up taking pictures with the bands.”
The backstory of how Rylee made it to the Chesney concert began the day before on June 8.
Hutchison said he took the future celebrity, and her two sisters, to a Wilmington Blue Rocks game, where Rylee lucked out and won a pair of Chesney tickets from a raffle contest there.
Before going to the concert, Hutchison said he sent out a text to someone (whose identity he won’t reveal), prophesying that his little girl would get on stage with Chesney.
“It was a mess,” Hutchison said about his prophesy.
“How many kids in the world get to do this?” he said. “She’s the luckiest kid in the world. Kenny Chesney is one of the greatest country singers. He chose this little girl and made her dreams come true.”
Rylee said after getting off stage, she felt like a star.
“People took photos with me. They were saying, ‘That's the girl with the helmet,’” the 10-year-old said.
Since the concert, Rylee has done a couple of interviews, including one with CBS Philly. Rylee said her mom was also contacted by a producer from “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”
The 10-year-old said she’s been getting contacted by family members who saw the video of her special moment.
“My uncle was watching it on TV, he lives in California,” she said. “My cousin, I don’t get to see him a lot, but he called me and said, ‘I saw you on TV.’ I was very surprised a lot of people saw me.”
Rylee’s summer vacation just began. But when asked if it’s the best she’s ever had, the 10-year-old unflinchingly said: “Yes.”