May 27, 2024

Bill Riley Talent Search kicks off Newton Fest

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Surprise guest Bill Riley Jr. was on hand for the Bill Riley Talent Search on Thursday at the Maytag Bowl. The show saw 19 kids compete on a picture perfect evening to gain one of two spots at the Iowa State Fair Competition in Des Moines.

“What a great show. This is the first show that has been in Newton for some time and hopefully we are starting a tradition here in Newton,” Riley said. “This is a beautiful venue, easily one of nicest I’ve been to in some time and you all should be very proud of it.”

The show kicked off with eight children competing in the sprout division. A wide variety of talent entertained the crowd, including a singer, piano player, hula-hoop-and-jump-rope duo and several dancers.

Rylinn Peterson and Emma Noel, both of Reasnor, came out on top receiving first place for their hip hop dance “Legit.” Lainy Vander Schel and Chloe Rorabaugh of Newton placed second for their dance “Emergency” and Lucy Gannon came in third for her piano performance of “Spinning Song.”

Also competing for the sprouts division were Brooke Watson, Je’sus Cante, Hadley Kruse, Zoey Henry, Gianna Mordini and Sophia Mordini.

The senior division had 11 competitors singing, dancing, performing on the piano and even playing the tuba. First place with to Ana Yam of Ames for her piano performance of “Chopin Etude Opas 10 No. 4 in C Sharp Minor.” Nikolas Skurdahl of Kellogg came in second for his dance to “Bullet Train” and also of Kellogg, Gracie Rorabaugh and Macy Caves placed third for their dance to “Kick It.”

“The cool thing about Bill Riley is if the first-place winner has already qualified before the show, that means second place qualifier Nikolas Skurdahl is going to go to the Iowa State Fair and represent Newton,” organizer Jessica Lowe said.

The 16-year-old dancer from Newton was excited to say the least.

“I’m ecstatic to go. It’s another opportunity to show what I have,” Skurdahl said.

Also competing in the senior division were Courtney Tabor, Blake Sevenbergen, McKenzie Paulson, Nickolas Tremel, Tory Church, Tate Hoskins, Kylie Davis and Benjamin Sander.

The show was one of the kick off events for Newton Fest and sponsored by the Newton Fest committee. The committee, along with the Newton Fairy Godmothers put on Lemonade in the Shade selling lemonade, pizza and Newton Fest T-shirts during the show.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or