Area kids strut their stuff at talent show

August 04, 2003|by PEPPER BALLARD

Dressed in fluorescent orange wristbands and a spandex costume that looked like it had been snipped straight from the 1980s, 11-year-old Katelyn Eichelberger cut "Footloose" on the 2003 Ag Expo Youth Talent Contest stage with an acrobatic act that won her a second-place prize in the juniors competition.

Eleven girls ages 8 through 15 competed Sunday in the Ag Expo contest, held at the Washington County Agriculture Educational Center off Sharpsburg Pike, about seven miles south of Hagerstown.

The girls danced, sang and played the keyboard beneath a pavilion and on a stage made by adorning the bed of a tractor-trailer with a white decorated skirt.


More than 100 audience members sat on wooden bleachers poised about 40 feet away from the stage. A sea of dirt, where sheep had been shown just minutes before the contest, separated the talent from their fans.

The first contestants, two girls dressed in matching jeans shorts, cowboy hats and T-shirts, tried a grassroots approach to winning over their judges.

Mary Teal Mulligan, 10, and Jenna Hott, 8, both of Williamsport, danced in front of the judges table and on the dirt to The Dixie Chicks' "White Trash Wedding." They pointed to their ring fingers to the lyrics "You can't afford no ring."

The girls, who competed in the junior division, didn't place.

Another duo, Loriell Mills, 12, and Amanda Engle, 12, both of Williamsport, won that division's first-place prize. Wearing white ballet leotards and baggy white pants, a sailor hat and a matching blue and white neckerchief, the two girls gracefully danced to an upbeat orchestral tune.

Sisters Kristina Powell, 15, and Rachel Powell, 12, competed separately in different divisions, but both played a Yamaha keyboard. Kristina played Mozart's "Turkish March" and Rachel played "I'm So Busy."

Rachel won third place in her division. Her sister won second place in the senior division.

The only girl who could top Kristina's act was 14-year-old Meagan Johnson, of Winchester, Va.

Meagan belted Deborah Cox's "Nobody's Supposed to Be Here" just before the contest's only other vocalist, Morgan Smith, sang "What the World Needs Now."

Morgan, 13, of Clear Spring, took home the third-place prize in the senior division.

Contest judge Hal Spielman, who is mayor of Sharpsburg and an agriculture teacher at Smithsburg High School, said judging the girls was very tough.

The second of three contest judges, Sue Lowery, who is an agriculture teacher at Clear Spring High School, said, "We mainly had to try to rank them and come to a consensus."

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