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Bill Riley Talent Search 8.16.23

Bill Riley Talent Search 8.16.23

August 16, 2023

Bill Riley Talent Search Attracts Multi-Talented Artists

Five talented Sprout division acts (ages 2-12) and five Senior division acts (ages 13-21) have advanced to the semi-final round in Bill Riley’s 63rd annual Iowa State Fair Talent Search. Each act will perform again on Thursday, August 17, Friday, August 18 or Saturday, August 19.

The names, ages, hometowns and routines of the sprouts acts are:

Brylee Merritt, 12, Onawa, Clogging Solo

Sophia Smith, 11, Lake City, Jazz Dance Solo

Briaunna Ackerman, 12, Ida Grove, Lyrical Solo

Harper Morris, 11, Manning, and Landon Burkhalter, 12, Harlan, Tap Dance Duet

Mya Burns, 12, Sioux City, Vocal Solo

The names, ages, hometowns and routines of the senior acts are:

McKenzie Lofgren, 21, Muscatine, Musical Theater Vocal Solo

Lake Schrage, 13, Grundy Center, Vocal and Guitar Solo

Claire Southard, 15, and Andre Johnson, 16, Des Moines, Contemporary Dance Duet

Ben Hemsworth, 21, and Gabe Hemsworth, 17, Mount Pleasant, Vocal and Instrument Duet

Britt Swanson, 18, Des Moines, Xylophone Solo

The Bill Riley Talent Search has put Iowa’s young talent on stages across the state each summer since 1960. Nearly 100 local qualifying competitions are held across the state and winners advance to the State Fair competition, where there are seven days of preliminary competition for Sprouts (ages 2-12) and Seniors (ages 13-21), followed by the semi-finals and, ultimately, the selection of one Senior Champion. The Sprouts do not compete beyond the semi-finals, but perform in the Championship Show as Sprout Champions set for Sunday, August 20 at 1:30 p.m. on the Anne and Bill Riley Stage sponsored by Pepsi and media sponsor iHeart Radio.

More than $20,000 will be awarded to the Senior and Sprout divisions combined.