Performers ready for a Showdown|Hudson, Bryant part of competition lineup

Published 5:00 pm Friday, September 11, 2009

Lifestyles & Features Edito

CHOCOWINITY — Area entertainers Lee Hudson of Chocowinity and Jamie Bryant of Williamston are among the acts vying for a spot this evening in this year’s North Carolina/South Carolina state finals of the Colgate Country Showdown.
The local Showdown contest begins at 8 p.m. at the Grand Ole Gospel. The theater is located two miles west of Chocowinity on Carrow Road, just off N.C. Highway 33. Doors open at 6 p.m. and preshow concessions will be available. Admission is $7.50 per person.
“A lot of well-known artists have competed in the Colgate Country Showdown,” said Angie Lewis, who owns and operates Grand Ole Gospel with her husband, Ronnie. “The winner of this local talent search will compete in the state finals on Sept. 26 in Williamston.”
This is the second year Grand Ole Gospel has hosted the local event.
“Last year, the winner was Sarah Dew of the Tarboro area,” Lewis said. “She went on to win the state contest and she competed at the national event — and she’s only a senior in high school!”
Joining Hudson and Bryant on the Grand Ole Gospel stage tonight will be fellow North Carolina residents April Trueblood of Frisco, Adam Stone of Nashville, Candace Godwin of Cerrogordo, Jasa Lewis of Morehead City, Slammin’ Dixie of Newport and Lindsay Hindman of Edenton.
A panel of judges will decide which act continues on to the state finals, Lewis said. The state winner receives $1,000 and an opportunity to continue on to one of five regional competitions and, potentially, a place in the national finals in Nashville, Tenn.
“The Bear” radio station is sponsoring the local competition. More than 40 performers auditioned to be one of the eight acts to make it to the Grand Ole Gospel stage, according to the event’s producer Krista Barnhill. A preliminary panel of judges narrowed the field after listening to each of the CDs that were submitted.
The Colgate Country Showdown, now in its 28th year, is the nation’s largest and longest-running country-music talent search. More than 450 local competitions are held across the United States each year.
The list of former Showdown competitors reads like a “Who’s Who” of country music entertainers. They include Martina McBride, Billy Ray Cyrus, Miranda Lambert, Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, Toby Keith, Tracy Byrd, Brad Paisley, Mark Chesnutt, Sara Evans, Neal McCoy and Sweethearts of the Rodeo.
For more information about tonight’s local competition, call the Grand Ole Gospel at 252-975-2117. For more about the Colgate Country Showdown, visit