Talent show packs crowd

By Kay Braddock

The success of the Prairie County Fair’s talent show came as no surprise to organizers, according to County Extension Agent and Fair Manager Sharla Sackman.

“We knew it was going to be good,” Sackman said.  
That conclusion came after talent show organizers viewed and listened to the 19 audition tapes and videos submitted.  Area contestants were required to send in tapes of their performance, fill out an application form and provide a brief biography by July 15 in order to compete in the August 7 evening event, which offered up $1,500 in cash prizes.
“We wanted it to be attractive enough for people to come compete,” Sackman said of the cash prizes. 
A $200 cash prize was paid out to winners in each of the youth divisions while the adult division offered $500, $300 and $200 cash prizes for the top three winners. 
“We anticipated a good crowd if we could get the contestants,” Sackman said.
Nearly 300 people attended the talent show - the highest night show attendance the fair has seen in 15 years.
Seventeen contestants performed during the two-hour show, with two of the original 19 dropping out just days before competition due to one sickness and one injury. Three competed in the 1-9-year-old youth division, five competed in the 10-17-year-old youth division, while 9 contestants rounded out the adult category. 
Acts included singing, dance, violin, fiddle and guitar performances.
Contestants were judged by overall performance, audience response, appearance, originality, stage presence (mannerisms, eye contact and poise) and personality. Each category was based on a 10-point measure.  The four judges came from Hysham, Circle and Glendive.
Winning the 1-9 youth division was 8-year-old Dalton Helmuth with his singing rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner”. Stef Huschka of Glendive won the 10-17 youth division with her guitar and singing performance of “Back and Better than Ever”. Winning the top spot in the adult division were Trey Neumann and Amanda Hinebauch with their singing and keyboard performance of “I Need You Now”. Charlie Denison of Glendive won second place with his guitar and singing performance of his self-written song, “Lake Champlain”. Amanda Askin of Miles City rounded out the top three by singing “Temporary Home”.
Seven-year-old Molly Eaton and 9-year-old McKinsey Jerrel also came away with a $10 chamber buck prize donated by the Prairie County Chamber of Commerce. 
Other events held during Prairie County’s 73rd four-day fair drew in large crowds as well.  The Parched Prairie Players’ Friday evening performance of “Medium Rare” drew in 183, an increase from last year’s numbers.
Both Saturday and Sunday events saw a slight decrease in crowds, likely due to 100-degree temperatures, Sackman said.
Prairie Action League’s Bump and Run drew in 323 on Saturday, while Terry Roping Club’s Ranch Rodeo brought in 320.
“Overall our attendance was up,” Sackman said.
Open class exhibit entry numbers were fairly typical with livestock, agronomy and horticulture entries up, while floriculture, needlework and arts and crafts down some from last year.
“Everything ran really smooth this year,” Sackman said. “There was good community participation. It felt pretty effortless.”

Published Aug. 10, 2010 

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