Ponoka Stampede’s annual talent show brought in just under 50 contestants looking to make the final talent showcase June 28 on the main stage. This year 11 contestants were picked including Tiffany Pilgrim of Calmar pictured on May 16.

Eleven picked for Ponoka Stampede talent showcase

Close to 50 hopefuls took part in the Ponoka Stampede talent show last week with 11 making the cut.

Close to 50 hopefuls took part in the Ponoka Stampede talent show last week.

Over a two day period, May 16 and 17, musicians, singers and performers poured their hearts out hoping to impress the judges. Being picked means the top performers will have a chance at the Stampede’s main stage June 28 for one of two prizes.

This year’s prizes are a choice of a one day recording session at MCC Recording Studio in Calgary courtesy of Dave Temple (value $1,000); and a song writing and mentoring session with Bobby Wills or a $3,000 guitar courtesy of Gilmore Guitars in Red Deer (Dave Gilmore) and the Ponoka Stampede.

The trick for performers, says judge David Gilmore, of Gilmore Guitars, is to pick the right song. While a person may have great stage presence and a great voice, sometimes it’s the song that makes all the difference in the judges eyes.

“Last night (May 16) there was a couple of really good singers that chose bad songs,” said Gilmore. “You also have to consider the audience reaction.”

One suggestion judge Kyla Rae of Real Country 95.5 suggests is to pick a song that isn’t necessarily the most popular. She pointed out that singers such as Carrie Underwood or Kelsea Ballerini can hit some high notes and not every singer has that ability.

“Those girls have such high tones in their voice,” said Rae.

Judges are looking for the person with talent but who can also entertain, explained judge Vinnie Taylor of Real Country 95.5. “Confidence on stage and to start off, a person with a good voice.”

Connor Adams Ponoka Stampede talent showcase

Other performances that do well could be with a rearranged song to show judges a performer’s ability to think outside the box.

Rae recommends competing in talent shows. For someone looking to test their confidence but also to see where they stand with other performers, performing in front of a live audience brings personal growth.

For those who don’t make it? “Keep trying,” said Gilmore.

“The more you do it, the better you’re going to get,” he added, pointing out there were several artists he had notes on where he feels they show promise.

“There’s no losers here,” added Rae.

She suggests a person can learn from any talent show.

“It takes a certain amount of nerve to allow yourself to be judged,” added Gilmore.

“You’ve gotta be able to take the constructive criticism,” offered Rae.

She says with that criticism comes learning and improvement.

The show’s provenance cannot be understated. With the likes of Gord Bamford, Brett Kissell and Hey Romeo lead singer Stacie Roper all taking part in the talent show, it shows with hard work and dedication a performer can become well known.

One big hit from the show came from five-year-old Zuriella Ayuno who received a supportive applause from those in attendance.

Here are the 11 picked for the showcase:

Abby K. Tofield

Zoe Eila Beaumont

Connor Adams Mayerthorpe

Falen Nelson Cardston

Ryan Lindsay Camrose

Cole Martin Innisfail

Devin Cooper Innisfail

Nikale van der Vlis Rocky Mountain House

Tiffany Pilgrim Calmar

Tyler Babiuk Edson

Roberta Fetch Spruceview