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Croonin' for a shot at the big time

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news Wadena, 56482

Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

The 2011 Texaco Country Showdown, formerly called the Colgate Country Showdown, will be an opportunity for eight finalists to get a shot at the big time, and a chance for Wadena-area people to catch their star as it is rising.

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Local radio stations KWAD/KNSP and Superstation K-106 bring the event to Sebeka on July 29. Accompanied by the band Switch, each contestant will have a chance to sing two songs, and two winners will move on to the next round of competition.

Here's a profile of each of the contestants set to compete in Friday night's show:

1. Kris "Kritter" Engle, 25, from Wolf Lake/Frazee, has been singing for years with Classic Country influencing him to keep it country. His favorite quote is, "I never trust a man who didn't drink." He hopes to make it big someday and has his dad to thank for the musical influences. In his spare time he is a dairy farmer and spends time with his family and his little daughter, Kaitlyn. Something interesting you may want to ask him is how he got his nickname and if he can truly name that tune with just the first word of a classic country song.

2. Katie Ziegler, 21, from Staples, began singing when she was 17 and has not stopped since. She continues to learn daily and is influenced in her music from her grandfather, with Reba being her inspiration. She loves singing, playing guitar, painting and drawing. She hopes to make it to Nashville someday and has a dream of singing on a big stage with peers. She has a very large family and considers her close friends part of her family. One point of interest you may find is that she plays several instruments and plays them all by ear, with the exception of the violin.

3. Sierra Milbradt, 20, from Nimrod, has been singing since she was 5 years old and is a recent graduate of M State Wadena. She is engaged to her best friend Alex Continenza, who also happens to be an influence to her music. Her favorite quote is, "You can take the girl out of the honky tonk, but you can't take the honky tonk out of the girl," with God and Garth Brooks as her inspirations. Her hobbies include singing, dancing, horseback riding, reading, writing, playing piano and guitar, and she aspires to be a well known famous artist. Her family includes her mom, Avis Estabrooks; dad, Kevin Milbradt; brothers, Josey, Jess and Samuel; and sisters, Katie and Cody. She has Asperger's Syndrome but does not let that stop her from doing the things she wants to do.

4. Jim Holbeck, 41, of Two Harbors, Minn., started singing around the age of 16. His influences in music are Van Halen, Garth Brooks and his good friend Derrick

Heitala, and he gets his inspiration from his dad. He likes to send people off with his favorite quote: "See you in the ditch." His free time is always about music and the dream of stardom. Jim shares this dream with his wife, Heidi; daughter, Katie; and stepson, Cody. One oddity you may want to talk with him about is how David Copperfield made him disappear.

5. Paul Martin, 47, from Eagle Bend, began singing about 12 years ago with Travis Tritt and Waylon Jennings influencing his music. His favorite quote to keep him going is, "Don't let the fear of dying stop you from living!" At this point in his life he hopes to be the oldest person to ever win the CMA Award for Best New Artist.

6. Trinity Jaymes (Junes), 23, from Menahga, began singing when he was 16 and continues to hone his craft. He loves music and motocross. He gets support from his mom, Annette; sisters, Shana and Trista; and brother, Craig. He is single.

7. Lee Compton, 25, from Brainerd, began singing just 3 or 4 years ago. He is a Brainerd High School graduate and has an AAS business degree from CLC. His influences in music comes from his family and a host of classic country artists. His wife is his inspiration and he likes to say, "You won't learn any younger." He loves hunting, fishing, writing songs and scuba diving. His wife, Brianna, and parents, Darrell and Brenda Compton, are his biggest fans. A few things to know about Lee is that he is 6'8" tall, a good cook, is a carpenter by trade and has a good eye for detail.

8. Derrick Heitala, 31, from Two Harbors, began singing when he was 14 years old and gives kudos to his dad for the influence that music has on his life, and gathers his inspiration as well from his parents and his beautiful wife Sarah. Derrick spends his time with his wife and children, Ricky, Grace, Chloe, Adrianna, Isaiah, Scarlett and Ziggy along with many brothers. His free time is made up of music and coaching football.

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