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Country 04/06/2004

'A New Young Guns' competition announced at this year's Wisconsin Country Thunder USA

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Country Thunder USA) - Country Thunder USA officials have announced applications are being accepted for the Wisconsin "Young Guns" Contest held July 22nd - 25th in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin.

"Young Guns" rolled out this year at Country Thunder USA in Florence, Arizona as a first time reality, web-based talent audition. The program received talent applications from across the nation and into Canada, attracted much industry attention, and votes from as far away as Japan. Country Thunder USA has just announced the same contest for their event held annually in Wisconsin. The competition, judged by voters at the event website,, allows new artists to compete for cash prizes, as well as the ultimate opportunity to perform a live 40 minute set on the Country Thunder USA Wisconsin mainstage, with superstars such as Reba McEntire, Brooks and Dunn, and Chris LeDoux!

This year's Country Thunder USA Arizona "Young Guns" first place winner, Laurie Hayes, received a call to notify her of the contest results. "I got a call asking to speak with Laurie Hayes, and the voice on the other end of the line said that I had won. I didn't know who was on the phone, and I ask 'what did I win?' When they laughed and said that I had won the "Young Guns" competition, I didn't know what to say. You put yourself out there for the public to vote on your music, and if they like you and you win, you want to scream it from the roof. The worst part was that I couldn't tell anyone until the press release had gone out. So, I kept it in for 3 days!" Laurie said with a hint of astonishment at her experience.
"Everyone treated us like we were stars˜from the security, to vendors, and the whole Country Thunder production team, we felt like we were stars! Ever since the event, I've had a great response to my music, and I've noticed a real boost. I'm now releasing a new album. I just want to say thank you to the Country Thunder USA Festival!"

First place talent for the Wisconsin contest will receive a $3,000.00 cash award. Second and third prize winners will be awarded $2,000.00 and $1,000.00 respectively. In addition to cash prizes, all winners will receive twenty 4-day general admission tickets to the "Country Thunder USA" Wisconsin event for friends and family to see them perform! The deadline for entry is June 8th, and voting will start online on June 14th! Contest information, registration, and voting available at

This year's "Young Guns" Contest and the Country Thunder USA festival is staged on concert grounds at the Shadow Hill Ranch in Twin Lakes, Wisconsin, just outside of Chicago, Illinois and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The four day event has become known as one of the finest outdoor music, camping and food festivals of its kind anywhere in the United States. It yearly attracts the biggest names in country music, top local and national arts and crafts vendors, as well as over 150,000 fans.

The 2004 Wisconsin Country Thunder USA talent line-up includes Grammy Award winning and multi-platinum recording artist Reba McEntire ("Somebody"), three time Entertainer of the Year Brooks and Dunn ("That's What She Gets For Loving Me"), veteran artists Lonestar ("I'm Already There," "Let's Be Us Again"), Lynyrd Skynyrd ("Sweet Home Alabama," "Free Bird," "Tuesday's Gone"), Chris Ledoux ("What You Gonna Do With A Cowboy," "This Cowboys' Hat"), Neal McCoy ("The City Put The Country Back In Me," "The Shake," "Wink"), Sawyer Brown ("Some Girls Do," "I'll Be Around"), Trace Adkins ("Rough and Ready," "Every Light In The House Is On"), and newcomers Cowboy Crush ("Cowboy Crush"), Trick Pony ("Pour Me"), Pat Green ("Wave on Wave"), Jimmy Wayne ("You Are"), Emerson Drive ("Last One Standing"), Blue County ("Good Little Girls"), crowd pleasers Honky Tonk Tailgate Party (Rhett Akins, Chad Brock, David Kersh, and Daryle Singletary), and more!

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