Melissa Claycomb wins Putnam County Star competition

Friday, July 26, 2013
Feeling the lyrics of Sugarland's "Stay," Melissa Claycomb delivers the winning performance in Thursday evening's Putnam County Star competiton at the Endeavor Free Stage at the Putnam County Fairgrounds.

On a day when big voices filled the Endeavor Free Stage at the Putnam County Fairgrounds, the biggest belonged a mom of three from Roachdale.

Melissa Claycomb won the first ever Putnam County Star competition Wednesday evening with a rendition of Sugarland's "Stay." Claycomb said she did not think she really had a chance in the moments before the winner was announced.

"Absolutely not. There was some crazy, crazy talent," Claycomb said. "I prayed about it before but I didn't think I would win."

However, it was Claycomb's name that event organizer Rick Johnston read when he opened the judges' envelope.

"I couldn't believe it," she said. "I wanted to cry and I wanted to hug everyone."

The people she did not have the chance to hug were her three children, who were on vacation with their dad. Claycomb said they had been able to catch her Tuesday night performance before Wednesday's finals.

Claycomb was able to share what she called an amazing experience with her 11 fellow contestants, all of whom went from auditions in late June to group performances at the queen contest and two individual performances each during the fair.

And none of this counts the many hours of auditions along the way.

The 12 Putnam County Star contestants await the announcement of a winner Wednesday evening.

"We got to know 12 wonderful, wonderful people," Johnston said on behalf of fellow organizer Jordan Zaring.

The night saw performances that ranged from opera to One Direction, from George Strait to Adele.

One delightful moment came from 17-year-old competitor Mariah Minnick, who treated the crowd to a rendition of "Amazing Grace" to the tune of 1960s Animals classic "House of the Rising Sun."

Radio veteran J.D. Cannon of Hank FM set the tone for the night, introducing each of the 12 finalists and chatting with them briefly before their songs.

Looking forward to the call she was about to make to her kids, Claycomb was all smiles after the show.

"I'm just tickled to death," she said.

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