On Monday, July 8, in conjunction with Monona County Fair activities, Onawa was once again one of the many sites across this great state of Iowa to host a Bill Riley Talent Search for the Iowa State Fair. The show was held in the Calvin C. Ooten Auditorium at West Monona High School.

Bill Riley Talent Search is sponsored by HyVee. Cash prizes in Monona County were sponsored by Farm Bureau Financial Services, Brent McCall Agent. Trophies and ribbons were donated by the Monona County Fair Association.

The Iowa State Fair will be held in Des Moines Aug. 8-18. If you’re there, try to catch some of the wonderfully talented young people who have made their way to the Bill Riley Stage.

There are two divisions in the competition – Sprouts (ages 2 to 12) and Seniors (ages 13 to 21). The first-place winner in each division that has not qualified to perform at the Iowa State Fair will become the Monona County representative from this show.

Each competition offers first, second, and third place cash prizes in both divisions, with prize amounts varying from show to show. Like Monona County, some shows also have local county winners. A minimum of three judges are required, with backgrounds and enough performance experience in dance, vocal, and instrumental categories to evaluate all types of acts. Performers receive brief, constructive comments from the judges after the competition.

This year, there were 15 entries. They came from Cherokee, Monona, Shelby, and Woodbury Counties.

Winners in the Sprouts Division were:

• 1st Place – Tori Schubert of Cherokee, Cherokee County, performing an acro jazz dance to “Apex Predator.”

• 2nd Place – Katie Heeney of Sioux City, Woodbury County, performing a lyrical dance to “Beautiful Thing.”

• 3rd Place – Ava Wooster of Mapleton, Monona County, dancing to “Singing in the Shower.”

Winners in the Seniors Division were:

• 1st Place – Madison Ross, of Onawa, Monona County, singing “What Love Really Means” as she played the guitar.

• 2nd Place – Mackenzie Crawford of Sioux City, Woodbury County, singing “The Wizard an I.”

• 3rd Place – Hanna Mummert of Cherokee, Cherokee County, dancing to “Capellia.”

The Monona County Sprouts Division winner was Emma Jensen of Onawa, and the Seniors Division winner was Madison Ross also of Onawa. These ladies performed for the Opening Ceremonies of the Monona County Fair on Wednesday evening.

The two 2019 Iowa State Fair qualifiers are Tori Schubert in the Sprouts Division and Madison Ross in the Seniors Division.

The show also had an unexpected guest – Bill Riley. Can you imagine everyone’s surprise and excitement! He drove from Des Moines just to see the talented young people per¬form. Riley was very gracious and spoke highly of the young ladies that danced and sang. He told them he would invite them all to the State Fair show if he could.

Many thanks to those that made the show run like clockwork – emcee, Lexi Lander, who was fantastic; and behind-the-scenes help: Geri Johnson, Ann Crawford, and Traci Shaw and her daughter, Cecelia.

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