Meet the 12 Putnam County Star finalists
As anyone who saw them at the Putnam County Fair Queen contest can tell you, the 12 finalists are set for the inaugural Putnam County Star contest.
The contest will take place over the course of four evenings between Saturday and Wednesday of fair week on the Endeavor Communications Free Stage at the fairgrounds.
The first three nights will feature four of the finalists as part of each night's free stage entertainment at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, July 20, finalists Jordan Pritchett, Justin Hoopingarner, Judi Buis and Tony Patrick will have the chance to show off their singing talents in the American Idol-type competition.
They will be followed by Sarah Arnold, Lindsay Schreiber, Mariah Minnick and Shelley Douglass on Monday, July 22.
On Tuesday, July 23, finalists Melissa Claycomb, Taylor Hope Strong, Lindsey Davis and Marin Nally will take the stage.
With the public having had the chance to see all 12 perform individually, they will all be back onstage for the final at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 24.
With radio legend J.D. Cannon serving as emcee, the big event will be a chance for each of the 12 stars to perform for a panel of judges and the public, which will also have a part in choosing a winner.
The attached biographies introduce each of the 12 finalists, organized by performance night.
Jordan Pritchett is a 23-year-old from Brownsburg.
She attended Danville High School and then a semester at Indiana State University studying music before deciding to become a hairstylist. She is now an assistant manager at Sportclips in Brownsburg.
Jordan enjoys time with family and friends and spending every minute she can with her only daughter, a beautiful 3-month-old.
She lists her only hobby as music. She likes to preform a wide variety of music, from show tunes to Etta James to Adele.
"I want to be the Putnam County Star to share my voice and love of music with as many people as possible," Jordan said.
Justin Hoopingarner is a 17-year-old from Greencastle.
The North Putnam High School student enjoys fishing, hunting, riding 4-wheelers, playing guitar and spending time with friends at sporting events.
Justin likes to perform country -- "real country like Strait, Jackson and Jones."
"I've always loved music and want to show that country music is still alive and well," Justin said of his desire to become Putnam County Star.
Jodi Buis is a 17-year-old from Greencastle.
She is entering her senior year at Greencastle High School. She has also been working at Heather Taylor State Farm for almost a year.
Jodi has participated in theater and musicals throughout high school, getting her first lead last year as Dorothy in the GHS production of "The Wizard of Oz."
At GHS she has also played volleyball and run track. She has also spent three years in the GHS Classics Choir.
When she is not singing and entertaining, Jodi likes to hang out with her family, friends and boyfriend. The self-described movie junkie also likes being active, hanging out and meeting new people.
Musically, she mainly likes to perform country, crossover and blues/folk sounds.
"I definitely like to perform the music that gets to the listeners' heart and gets their feet tapping," Jodi said.
"I want to be a Putnam County Star because I've lived in Putnam County my whole life, and I want nothing more than to represent all those who have a dream to make it big," she said. "By becoming the first-ever Putnam County Star, it will show that hard work truly pays off and to never give up on your dream."
Tony Patrick is a 20-year-old from Cloverdale
Tony graduated from the Indiana School for the Blind in 2011 and is currently taking classes at Ivy Tech. He works part time at South Putnam Central Elementary School.
He enjoys walking in 5Ks and working in the community.
Tony's hobbies include writing, singing and playing music as well as working with computers and working in his church.
He can play more than 20 different instruments, "but not at the same time."
Although he enjoys performing and singing any style of music that has substance, he says "I am truly a country boy at heart."
"I want to win Putnam Country Star so that I can help spread the word and prove that even though you may have a disability like blindness in my case, you can still beat the odds and become somebody if you put your heart and mind to it," Tony said.
Sarah Arnold is a 15-year-old from Greencastle.
The 10th-grader has been homeschooled for the last seven years. When she goes to college, probably at Verity Institute, she plans to major in voice performance.
Sarah is a member of the Putnam County Pioneers 4-H Club.
She likes to sing, cook, sew, collect paper dolls, read, write, make jewelry, act in plays, fellowship with her friends and watch old movies (think Audrey Hepburn and Shirley Temple).
She enjoys performing hymns, classical pieces, musicals and Gilbert and Sullivan operettas.
"I want to be a Putnam County Star because I've never been in a singing competition before, and I wanted to try my hand at it," Sarah said.
Lindsay Schreiber is a 15-year-old from Greencastle.
She will enter the 10th grade at North Putnam High School next month.
Lindsay is a member of the band, choir and church youth group.
"I love God with all my heart," she said.
Her main two passions are music and horses, especially her horse Nay Nay. She is into rodeos and singing at church and for family.
She mainly enjoys singing country music and the occasional pop song, but says she sings what she feels.
"I want to be Putnam County Star (because) I grew up singing everywhere and love the fair. Singing to me is as comfortable as horses and my boots," Linsday said. "Stage fright can happen but it won't stop me. I want to earn money from Putnam County Fair so I can afford to go to a rodeo up north with my mom later this summer."
Mariah Minnick is a 17-year-old from Poland.
The South Putnam High School senior is active in her church.
Mariah's hobbies include singing, playing guitar, enjoying the outdoors and visiting with friends and family.
She likes to perform praise and worship music, contemporary Christian and gospel.
"I would like to be a Putnam County Star because I want to help others be able to worship the Lord," Mariah said. "I really enjoy singing and having fun praising and worshiping God."
Shelley Douglass is a 24-year-old from Greencastle.
She works as a preschool teacher and in her free time enjoys singing in an acoustic Christian band.
Her hobbies include spending time with her daughter, playing sports and karaoke.
Shelley likes performing country music because it makes you feel something.
"It's mostly about problems people go through and you can relate to what you are singing or listening to," Shelley said.
She wants to be the Putnam County Star because she loves performing people, whether it be for the contest, at church or out singing karaoke with friends.
"I like that this competition is showing all the talent that we have in Putnam County and I'm just glad to be a part of it," Shelley said. "Don't get me wrong, I would love to win, but the chance to perform is one of the reasons I wanted to do this competition."
Melissa Claycomb is a 30-year-old from Roachdale.
She is a nursing student at Ivy Tech Community College. She has been employed at the VA Medical Center in Indianapolis for the last six years.
"My most important and impactful job, though, is being a mom of three cuties," Melissa said.
As such, most of her activities are based around her children.
Melissa's hobbies include almost anything sports related, along with playing cheerleader for her kids. She also enjoys watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with my family and friends and being silly with her kids. When she finds time, she also appreciates a good book and a warm blanket.
Her main focus is music. She sings a lot at church and calls Christian music good for her soul. She also calls herself a rocker at heart who also has fun performing country songs.
"Basically, I love it all," Melissa said.
"I take pleasure in making people happy and seeing a genuine smile light up across their face. I feel like I can do that through music," Melissa said. "I've always wanted to perform for others and share music with them in hopes that they would feel as connected to a song as I do. I just simply want to sing my heart out for whoever wants to listen."
Taylor Hope Strong
Taylor Hope Strong is a 13-year-old from Greencastle.
The Greencastle Middle School student is a cheerleader and softball player.
Taylor's hobbies include singing and teaching herself guitar and piano.
She likes to challenge herself by listening to and singing all different styles of music.
Taylor looks at winning Putnam County Star as a first step toward a dream.
"I have always dreamed of being a star and winning this in my hometown would be a great start," Taylor said.
Lindsey Davis is a 14-year-old from Cloverdale.
She will be a freshman at Cloverdale High School this fall. Her activities include volleyball, softball, basketball and FCA.
Lindsey's hobbies include playing guitar and singing, riding dirtbikes, hanging with friends and family, swimming and reading.
As a performer, she enjoys country, pop and alternative.
"I want to be a Putnam County Star because it will give me the opportunity to show what I'm capable of," Lindsey said. "I like having fun and being on stage. The more I'm up there the better I will get! I hope that I can continue with my music and hope that others would enjoy it."
Marin Nally is a 13-year-old from Greencastle.
The Greencastle Middle School student enjoys basketball and softball. She used to be a cheerleader but gave it up so she could focus more on basketball.
Marin also enjoys being in plays and acting, including two plays at the Putnam County Playhouse.
Most of her hobbies center around sports, including playing basketball with her dad and swimming to relax in the summer.
"Most of all though, I love to sing, obviously, and I sing around the house all the time, in the car, when I'm in the shower, definitely, just all the time,' Marin said.
She prefers performing upbeat music so she can move around and get emotional. She can also enjoys the deeper emotions of ballads and the chance to make someone cry.
"My motto is: If you make someone cry, you have done your job," She said.
She enjoys pop, country and anything current.
"I would be honored to be Putnam County Star because I sing all the time, I mean it's not a hobbie, it's a passion," Marin said. "It would be so cool if I won because then I know that I have what it takes to maybe follow my dreams and become a famous singer like Carrie Underwood and people will buy my album and turn it up when I'm on the radio like I do to my idols now.
"Overall, I want to be Putnam County Star because it would make me more confident as not only a singer, but a person too."