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Bill Riley Talent Search 8.19.23

Bill Riley Talent Search 8.19.23

August 19, 2023

Three More Acts Advance in the Bill Riley Talent Search at Iowa State Fair

Four talented Senior division acts (ages 13-21) have advanced to the Championship round in Bill Riley’s 63rd annual Iowa State Fair Talent Search. Each act will perform again on Sunday, August 20. Three Sprout acts were crowned champions.


The names, ages, hometowns and routines are:

Makayla Beisel, 16, Clarion, Contemporary Dance Solo

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

Nelley Pelzer, 14, James Brown, 17, Kylie Templeton, 16, Drayce Moore, 16, Atlantic, Clogging Quartet

Annika Baker, 20, Des Moines, Musical Theater Vocal Solo

Sprout Champions

Abby Lorch, 9, North Liberty, Violin Solo

Vivian Speck, 9, Dayton, Vocal Solo

Ethan Larsen, 11, Rubik’s Cube Solver, Ankeny

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.