By Ron VandenBoom
The True Value/Jimmy Dean Country Showdown is featured this year as the Wednesday Night Show entertainment at the Great Northern Fair.
Seven country artists from Montana have competed in seven individual talent contests sponsored by radio stations throughout the state to earn a chance at competing at the Havre Showdown.
The winners are Tina Tryan, Billings, Ed Juneau, Great Falls, Amanda Duff Caldwell, Kalispell, Thomas S. Minow II, Miles City, Lisa Marie Ellis, Missoula, Tina Bailey , Scobey, and Kelly Jackson, Shelby.
The Showdown is the climax of the Montana phase of the competition that could ultimately lead to a shot at a $50,000 grand prize and a nationally televised appearance at The Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tenn.
The backup band for the Havre competition from Great Falls will be Fender Bender.
All artist will perform with the same backup band and each performance will last about 7 minutes.
Judges for the competition have been selected by Country Showdown from around Montana. They will judge the contestants on a scale of 1 to 10 in the areas of marketability, vocal and instrumental ability, originality, stage presence, and talent. Artists can be awarded three additional points for original material.
The Country Showdown is billed as the largest country music talent contest and radio promotion in the world with over 1,000 live events staged in 1999. It involves thousands of artists and over 400 country radio stations and more than 4 million fans nation wide.
The winner of Wednesdays competition will receive a $1,000 prize and a chance to graduate to the regional competition to be held later this year. The six regional winners will then face off at the national level in December.
Host for the competition will be comedian and sound effects artist, Herb Dixon, who will do an opening monologue and return between each performance to keep the audience entertained.
Tickets for the show are only $5 and the fun begins at 7 p.m. Rain may send the show to the Bigger Better Barn, with showtime delayed to 8 p.m. Ticket holders should check with fair officials.