Over 30 duets and solo acts will be taking the stage for the Walker County Fair Country Music Star semifinal competition on March 27, all vying for a chance to be named the 2010 Country Music Star.

“We had 16 contestants audition in the second round last week,” event organizer Steve Fox said. “After turning away only five contestants, we are pleased to see 30 duo and solo contestants competing in the semifinals.”

Those 2010 semifinalists include, Kal Hooper, 62; Mona Peck, 57; Johnny Noel, 55; Richard Johnson, 54; Ruth Martin, 52; Paul Legler, 46; duo Mitchell Prehoda, 38, and Reagan Nelson, 14; Jason Gulley, 32; Jozee Doyle, 28; Brooke Lowery, 28; Rachel Fisher, 22; Brandi Barger, 21; Kyla Martin, 20; Erynn Novak, 20; Brandon Stiles, 20; Megan Menteer, 19; duo Calie Powell, 18, and Heather Coburn, 17; Nick Soria, 17; Caitlin Ward, 17; John Koester, 16; Devan Clute, 14; Tammany Grant, 14; and Steven Lee, 11.

Joining those 23 acts will be nine returning finalists from the 2009 Country Music Star finals, including, Donnie Smith, 28; LaDawn Taylor, 26; Destinee Hedspeth, 22; Cassie Karm, 22; Amanda Johnson, 20; Travis Ross, 20; Makenzie Brame, 17; Lee Williams, 16; and Alyson Brame, 15.

“What is so amazing to me about this year’s competition is the variety of ages among the contestants that will be competing — from 11 to 62,” Fox said.  “And it also is great to see so many new competitors this year.”

The semifinal contest begins at 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 27, and takes place on the main stage of the Walker County fairgrounds main building. The event is free with paid admission to the fair.

From the semifinalists, a panel of judges and the audience will cast votes for the top 10 contestants, who will perform at the final show on April 3 at the fairgrounds during the final night of the Walker County Fair.

“I think that this year’s contest will be tougher,” Fox said. “It will be more difficult to narrow down the top 10 finalists.”

This year’s judges include Conroe singer Laura Turner, musician and business owner Laurie Harrelson and singer/songwriter Joe Miller. A guest judge — to be announced — will join the panel of judges each night.

Country Music Star contestants will have the chance to win one of three cash-included prize packages.

The first place winner will receive $750 in cash and prizes, including a single-song demo tape, courtesy of Hilltrax Studios. The second and third place winners would receive cash and prizes valued at $500 and $250, respectively.

“Another unique prize will be a Ventura guitar,” Fox said. “It has been donated by One Music Square and signed by a number of Texas Country artists — thanks to the Jolly Fox Club.”

Signatures on the grand prize guitar include those of the Wade Bowen, Whiskey Myers, No Justice, Brison Bursey Band, Josh Abbott Band, Roger Creager, Jason Boland and Cory Morrow, all of whom have performed at the Jolly Fox Club in Huntsville.

“We also are getting the audience involved this year with a game of country music trivia,” Fox said. “We have giveaways planned for the winners of that game.”

Two guitars, signed by the Brison Bursey Band, also will be awarded to a member of the audience during the contests — one at the semi-final round, and the other at finals.

“The Brison Bursey Band is from Huntsville, and have a single getting radio play,” Fox said. “They are releasing a new album in April.”

Current sponsors for Country Music Star include: B&R Productions, Cavender’s Boot City, Chili’s Grill & Bar, Fat Boy’s, First National Bank, Gulf Coast 4-star Trailers, KSAM Radio, One Music Square, Sonic Drive-In, Subway, Walker County Hardware and Wiesner-Huntsville.

For more information, or to sponsor the event, contact Leggett at (936) 662-3995 or Fox at (936) 661-2254.