One of Merle Haggard's most famous performances was in the early 1950s when he opened for Lefty Frizzell in Bakersfield, California. Another of Haggard's important performances was early in 1962 in Las Vegas, when he was asked to perform during Wynn Stewart's club show while waiting for Stewart to arrive.
In the early 1950s, Haggard and a friend went to see Lefty Frizzell and sneaked backstage before the show to play a few songs for Lefty before the show. Lefty was so impressed that he refused to take the stage until Haggard went out and performed first. The audience responded enthusiastically to Haggard's performance, giving him the confidence he needed to begin a career as a performer.
During the Las Vegas show in 1962, when Haggard was onstage, Wynn Stewart finally showed up in the middle of Haggard's performance. Stewart was so impressed that he asked Haggard to join his band. This gave Haggard enough exposure to begin recording his own hit songs throughout the following few decades.