Price is right in Country Showdown

Thursday, July 18, 2002

A field of 10 contestants gave their best shot at fame in the 2002 KMMO Colgate Country Showdown Wednesday night.

In the end, it was Lori Reid Price of Slater who walked away with the title and an opportunity to compete at the state level next month.

The Colgate Country Showdown, now in its 21st year, is known as one of the largest country music talent showcases in the United States. Price joins the likes of LeAnn Rimes, Garth Brooks and Sara Evans - who were all local winners. Price won the local event singing a song by Martina McBride, who happens to have been a national finalist in the talent competition.

Price comes by her talent honestly and began taking to the stage at the age of 3. It was as a toddler that she began joining her father on stage, singing with his country music and gospel band. She is a fifth-generation musician and plays six instruments including the piano, saxophone and bass guitar.

Now a student at Central Missouri State University in Warrensburg, Price was named the school's top female vocalist.

Price will next compete Aug. 3 in Farmington at the St. Francois County Fair. She will vie against other Missouri local winners for a $1,000 prize, the state title and the opportunity to advance to one of six regional finals.

Price said she hopes to make it all the way to the national finals and beyond.

"I'd like to get a recording contract with a major label," she said.

Price has written her own songs, but so far her fans haven't been able to hear them.

"I haven't been brave enough to sing them in front of other people," she said, but added that if she wins the recording contract she would be - maybe.

The second-place finisher this year was Joni Battles of Fayette. Those familiar with the competition may remember the 18-year-old vocalist from last year, when she finished second also. Battles has been singing since she was 4 and has been seen on stage at the Arrow Rock Lyceum Theatre. She wowed crowds with her vocal abilities on the technically challenging "Blue" made famous by LeAnn Rimes.

Third place went to Rodney Wiseman of Springfield. Wiseman was one of the few performers to play an instrument during the competition and he sang "Let's Take it Slow," a song he wrote himself. Wiseman said he wrote the song to touch the heart of a woman he loved, but it had unexpected results.

"It must have worked; three months later she married her neighbor," he said. "I touched her heart, but it turned the other way."

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