“Memphis man wins Colgate Country Showdown
With not a cloud in the sky, and more than 1,500 people on hand at Riverside Park Saturday afternoon, country music lyrics filled the air as 15 contestants hoped to launch their professional music careers.
The 23rd Annual Colgate Country Showdown, part of the festivities celebrating the 61st White River Water Carnival, is designed to find the most promising country music talent in America.
The first place winner was Brian Callies of Memphis. He performed (an original song) called "Barbecue Country Style"â€¦
As first place winner with 117 points, Callies received a plaque and will advance to the Arkansas State Fair in Little Rock in October. Acts then compete for a $1,000 prize, the state title and the opportunity to advance to one of six regional finals. Also, John Baxter, co-owner of Baxter-Collins Sound Productions, offered to produce a free demo of Callies' song.
There are lots of talented folks in this part of the world," Baxter said. "I wish the radio would play more of their music."
The 15 contestants' performances were awarded 0-10 points on marketability in country music, vocal/instrumental ability, originality of performance, stage presence/charisma and overall talent. Up to three bonus points were awarded by Jay Teter, Fan Dozier and Baxter if contestants had original song lyricsâ€¦
Before the showdown began Teter, an up-and-coming country music star, sang his single, "Cowboy Ride." He, along with Dozier and Baxter of Batesville, judged the competitionâ€¦
The Colgate Country Showdown begins each spring with more than 400 local talent contests sponsored by country music radio stations throughout the U.S. Batesville's event was hosted by Arkansas 103 KWOZ.
If Callies wins at the state fair, he will then advance to the regional finals. It's the last step before the national final scheduled for Jan. 31, 2005, which is televised from one of country music's venues, like the stage of the Grand Ole Opry House, the Grand Palace Theatre in Branson, Mo., the historic Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Epcot Center at Walt Disney World and Universal Studio Florida.
Over the years, stars such as Garth Brooks, LeAnn Rimes, Sara Evans and John Michael Montgomery have competed in the Colgate Country Showdown. At the 1983 national final, Martina McBride and Neal McCoy competed against one another, only to lose to The Jim Arnold Band. In 1985, Sweethearts of the Rodeo won the national final before becoming one of country music's hottest duos.”
- Mary Jo Guenzel, Guard Staff Writer
Arkansas Batesville Daily Guard Newspaper