Colgate Country Showdown, round No. 1 

On Saturday evening, local musician Gayle Chapman, casting director Katrine (last name escapes me right now) and I judged the local preliminaries for the 28th Colgate Country Showdown at the Western Idaho Fair, sponsored by radio station WOW 104.3.

Older and younger alike took to the Project Filter stage and sang and played classic and original country tunes for a chance to win $100,000 and kick-start their music careers at the final competition, hosted by LeeAnn Rimes.

Some singers chose the likes of everyone from Tammy Wynette and George Jones to Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift to showcase their sometimes impressive vocal talents a la karaoke (minus the screens with lyrics scrolling across them) while others played and sang original tunes.

While I appreciate a great set of lungs, my fellow judges and I were drawn to those musicians and acts willing to take a chance with their own music (and do so successfully) or whose talent was matched by their charisma.

It was such a tough decision as so many fit that criteria, but the five performers/acts who will move on to Wednesday's finals to see who goes on to the regional competition for a shot at a national spot are (in no particular order): The Jared Ramey Band, Nicole Chandler, Desirae Bronson, Our Fathers Were Gunfighters and Karleen Crowe.

Come down to the Fair at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 26 to see and hear some local talent you may not even have known this city possessed. And come say hi; I'll probably be wearing my big pink cowboy hat. When in Rome ...

The video is of performer Jesse Brown who won't be going on in this competition, but who did a terrific job nonetheless.

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