Charles City youth invited to compete in talent show on July 2

Free event offers cash prizes, chance to qualify for state contest

Contributed article

CHARLES CITY – The Bill Riley Talent Search competition has become a Charles City Fourth of July Celebration tradition, annually drawing some of the top young talent from around North Iowa. That is expected to continue this year with the 2017 talent show set for Sunday, July 2, at 1 p.m. at the Charles Theatre. The talent competition is open to anyone in the state, ages 2-21.
“We have some unbelievably talented youth in this region and this show is not only a great place to showcase that, but also a chance for them to earn a qualifying spot at the Iowa State Fair,” said Charles City Community Development Director and local show co-organizer Mark Wicks. “And thanks to our local sponsors, we once again are offering one of the largest prize pots of any of the Bill Riley qualifying contests across Iowa.”
The first place winner in the Senior Division (ages 13-21) will take home $100 and the first place winner in the Spout Division (ages 2-12) will win $50. Second place Senior and Sprout winners will receive $50 and $25, respectively, while third place finishers will receive $25 (Senior) and $10 (Sprout). Helping to sponsor this year’s show and prize money are: Roffman Band Instrument Service, Bienfang Instrumental Studio, Central Park Dentistry, Dairy Queen, Comet Bowl and the I Don’t Care restaurant.
The state-wide Bill Riley Talent Search first began more than 50 years ago. Through nearly 100 local and regional competitions held throughout the year, the Bill Riley Talent Search showcases the best young talent from around Iowa in the categories of vocal, dance or instrumental, and invites them to compete for a spot at the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. From a total field of 3,500 or more competitors, the Bill Riley Talent Search selects 350 to 450 singers, dancers and musicians to take the stage at the Fair in a quest for thousands of dollars in cash prizes. Vocal categories include classical, country or contemporary; dancing includes tap, jazz, ballet, pointe, acrobatics or baton; and instrumental includes classical or contemporary.
The local contest, hosted by the Charles City Area Chamber of Commerce, is open to the public and will take place in the air-conditioned Charles Theatre. Admission is free to all, including no entry fee for the participants. All acts must keep their performance time to no more than three minutes, and contestants may not appear more than once in any one show, either solo or multi-person acts.
Winners from earlier talent shows who have already qualified for the Bill Riley State Fair Talent Search can still participate in the Charles City show and win the cash prize, but in that case the second place finisher will then qualify to move on to the state competition in Des Moines. Should the next place winner also happen to be an earlier state fair qualifier, then the next place winner after that will advance to state.
Please stop in at the Charles City Community Development Office at 401 N. Main St., or visit the Iowa State Fair website and click on the Bill Riley Talent Search for complete contest rules. Application forms are available at the Community Development Office, (641) 228-4234, or by e-mailing