UNION — An event slated for tomorrow night will offer local vocalists a pathway to country music stardom.
The 32nd-annual Texaco Country Showdown — sponsored locally by WBCU for the third straight year — will be held at 6 p.m. Friday, May 17 in the USC Union Auditorium.
The Country Showdown begins each spring with more than 450 local contests throughout the U.S. sponsored by country music radio stations. Local winners advance to their respective state competitions, where acts compete for a $1,000 prize, the state title and the opportunity to advance to one of five regional finals. After regionals, the next step is the prestigious, televised national final, where regional winners compete for the grand prize of $100,000 and the title of “Best New Act in Country Music.”
Friday night’s competition will consist of nine acts, which are mostly local, according to WBCU President and CEO Chris Woodson.
“We’re growing,” Woodson said. “This is our third year, and we hope to continue to get bigger and better.”
Woodson pointed out that acts will consist of at least one band as well as several vocalists who will also play instruments.
“Over 50 percent of the acts will play their own instruments, and the rest will sing with tracks,” Woodson said, adding that he thinks the future of the contest is headed toward those who play instruments.
“Several of them are singing original songs, and that’s a whole other talent level,” he said. “It’s going to be very entertaining for the folks of Union.”
Judges for the event will include Buddy Wilkes, Todd McGowan, Scotty Silvers and Toby King. King is a longtime musician who has an album coming out this summer, and he will kick off the show with a special performance of his own.
Audience members will also receive judging sheets so they can tally scores from their seats and see how their scores match up with the judges.
The winner of Friday’s competition will advance to the statewide competition, which will be held — for the first time ever — at this year’s Union County Agricultural Fair.