Bootheel looking for talent

Sunday, August 2, 2009

SIKESTON -- Members of the Community Betterment Association know there's talent in the Bootheel area.

And they're ready to display it by sponsoring the first "The Bootheel's Got Talent," show, planned for Aug. 15. The event, inspired by the NBC show "America's Got Talent," is set for 7 p.m. at the Albritton-Mayer Center.

"We really want to inspire young people to pursue their dreams, and give them a chance for exposure," said Genesis Grant, secretary of the group. "Displaying talent is a great thing and performers love to perform. When they have a stage, that makes it even better."

Vice President Agnes Moore agreed. "We wanted to provide a platform for the youth to display their talent," she said. "It also increases the social activities for young people in this area -- because there's not a lot going on."

While the competition is open to all ages, there is an emphasis on youth.

"We thought the youth would enjoy to see talent in other age groups," said Grant.

Moore added their organization does have a big emphasis on youth, too. "They have the greatest potential -- and also the biggest risk," she said. "The Bootheel's Got Talent" will engage them in the community -- and also let the spotlight shine on them, she said.

All sorts of performances -- music, dance, poetry and others -- are welcome. "But we aren't looking for large groups such as choirs, be- cause that would be too bulky," Moore said.

Each participant will have five to six minutes to perform their act, Grant said. She said they expect a diverse group, and that she hopes individuals from all over the Bootheel -- even Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff and Caruthersville -- will show up.

"We aren't going to turn anyone away," she said.

Prizes will be awarded for the winners. There will also be a raffle, for which people can purchase tickets at the door. Those involved said they hope to see "The Bootheel's Got Talent" blossom into an annual event, or even one that takes place more than once a year.

"We need more cultural events going on in the city -- it's something that we all share and can take part in," said Grant. "It reveals a side that you never knew your neighbor or someone else has. It can even inspire you to pick up another hobby."

For those who wish to participate in "The Bootheel's Got Talent," there is a $10 application fee, and forms can be requested by sending e-mail to, by calling 573-471-3859, or can be picked up at Midwest Music, 417 S. Main, which is co-sponsoring the show. Deadline is Aug. 10.

Also, tickets for the audience are $5 in advance or $8 at the door. They are also available at Midwest Music.

The Community Betterment Association, which formed last August, plans to use all proceeds to put on other events such as a health fair.

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