Fallon woman ties for top spot at Eastern Montana’s talent show, earning opening act

 By Don Cogger

Yellowstone Newspapers
A talent contest giving local artists an opportunity to compete for the the privilege of opening for Saturday’s Sawyer Brown concert was a huge success with fairgoers Thursday night at the Eastern Montana Fair in Miles City.
“I was just blown away by the response of the audience; the crowd was much bigger than we anticipated,” said Miles City Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director John Laney. “It way exceeded my expectations, and we’ll definitely be turning it into an annual event.”
Nine artists from the area competed in the First “Eastern Montana has Talent” contest, chosen from 17 audition tapes submitted to the Chamber of Commerce earlier this month. The list was whittled down to 10, with one contestant, Ryan Browning, unable to participate because he was off fighting a fire.
“I’ll tell you something, the show was aptly named,” Laney said. “The judges were unable to decide on one overall winner.”
Jake Elwood and Sharla Jerrel will each sing one song, followed by Jamie Lee McGrady of Fallon, who will sing two songs. Laney said it was a very small margin of points that separated all nine performers.
“In looking at the scoring sheet, I think there was only 18 points difference between the ninth person and the first person,” he said. “That’s how close it was. Just talking to people around me who weren’t part of the voting process, we all had different people finishing 1-2-3. There was a lot of talent on that stage.”
Laney gave credit for the idea of the show to Custer County Fair Manager Gail Shaw. He thinks next year’s show will be even bigger, judging by this year’s response.
“Gail had the idea, and we just run with it, and now we’re glad we did,” Laney said. “We knew there were plenty of talented people in the area, but nobody expected the response of the crowd. It was incredible.”
The Sawyer Brown concert was held Saturday, Aug. 27 at the Custer County Fair grandstands. 
Participants for the talent shower were:
Blake Wilson
Ashley Powell
Sharla Jerrel
Mark Umfleet
Anastasia Hartley
Andy Wemmer
Jeff Clark
Jamie Lee McGrady
Jake Elwood

Published August 31, 2011

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