By SALLY SEXTON
WILLOW PARK — Railhead BBQ in Willow Park can be known for its busy evenings. But on Wednesday night, guests flocked every available patio table and railing to witness 12 area country music star hopefuls at the 32nd Annual Texaco Country Showdown, hosted by QXFM Radio Network.
One of the country’s largest music searches, the contest allowed the dozen contestants to try and impress four judges, as well as the crowd, with their performances and radio promotion.
Watchers had a chance to vote along with the judges, critiquing the performers on their marketability in country music, vocal and instrumental ability, originality of performance, stage presence, talent and song-writing ability.
“The judges’ decisions and the crowd’s weren’t really too far off,” Michael White, with QXFM, said. “Everyone seemed to judge pretty evenly.”
First place went to Abbey Cone, a 14-year-old performer from the Fort Worth area, second place went to Jesse Allan and Wisper Cox, of Springtown, finished third.
With the victory, Cone will move on to the state regional finals, held at Billy Bob’s Texas in Fort Worth on Aug. 17. Five regional winners will be selected and awarded an all-expense paid trip to the national final, where they will have a chance to win the $100,000 grand prize and national title.