Sydney McLaughlin, a Colfax resident, will be delivering the National Anthem for the Iowa Corn Indy 250 on June 23.
McLaughlin, a senior of Colfax-Mingo high school and a member of the FFA chapter, competed in a local sing-off at the Iowa Speedway on June 5. Candidates from three different FFA chapters came together, vying for the opportunity to sing the National Anthem at the race.
McLaughlin’s FFA advisor had told her about the contest, recommending that she take part, and she immediately pursued it with the support of her family and FFA chapter.
“It’s a great opportunity and I think it will be a really good experience,” McLaughlin said. “Singing has always been a big part of my life and my family’s, from church choir to musicals and chorus in school.”
The other contestants included Sam Moss and Micah Herr from the Winterset FFA Chapter and Kennedy Plowman from the Adair-Casey High School FFA Chapter. The panel of judges for the contest included Scott Greenfield, Monsanto’s geographic marketing manager for Iowa; Elzandi Oosthuizen, Monsanto’s regional business director for Iowa; Shannon Textor, Iowa Corn’s director of market development; Brooke Kern, Iowa Corn’s market development manager; Theresa Fitzgerald, 2012 State FFA officer and Iowa Corn’s summer intern; Jenny Will, marketing coordinator of Iowa Speedway; and Tami Hansen, marketing director of Iowa Speedway.
After the contestants all sang, the judges withdrew to deliberate.
“It was nerve wracking,” McLaughlin said. “I was very nervous, but I thought that I’d sang well and I had my whole family there to support me … I knew that even if I didn’t win, I’d get the chance to sing at another race”
Upon the judge’s return, they selected McLaughlin who will now sing before a crowd of up to 30,000 race fans as well as everyone who tunes in to watch on television, giving her the largest audience of her life by far and a challenge that she is both nervous and excited for. She has previously performed for large crowds at several FFA Idol competitions at the FFA state convention as well as school performances.
“The FFA sing-off went very well and we had a chance to watch and listen to some fantastic talent,” said Greenfield. “It was a privilege to help judge and all three entries are winners in our book. Sydney will be performing the Nation Anthem at the Iowa Corn Indy 250 and the others will have the opportunity to perform at upcoming races this year.”