ARTICLE: Colgate Country Showdown at the Ryman Auditorium

For most artists, the opportunity to sing and perform on the stage at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville is considered to be one of the biggest moments of their lives. Johnny Bulford can now say he combined two of his life’s biggest moments at once, as he is the $100,000 Grand Prize winner of the 27th Annual Colgate Country Showdown held on January 16th in Nashville.

Hosted again by the beautiful and talented, LeAnn Rimes, a full house was entertained by performances of five National Finalist competing for the Grand Prize award. The other competitors were Korey Blake, Lance Lipinsky, LiveWire and Matt Reeves. All five put on amazing performances and the decision was not a simple one by the judges. This year the panel of judges consisted of industry professionals - Rod Essig (Creative Artist Agency), Fletcher Foster (Universal Records South), producer Garth Fundis, Beverly Keel (Tennessean) and Lisa Ramsey-Perkins (Sony). The five contestants were judged on the following criteria: Vocal/Instrumental Ability, Originality of Performance, Stage Presence/Charisma and Talent. Optional bonus points could also be awarded to acts for with original music in a Songwriting category.

Johnny Bulford (Southeast winner) is a singer/songwriter whose music has depth well beyond his years. At just 23 years old, he has opened for Collin Raye, the Warren Brothers, Josh Turner, Emerson Drive, Chris Cagle, Diamond Rio and Tanya Tucker. His style has been compared to Vince Gill, Garth Brooks and James Taylor. He was a State finalist in the 2003 Colgate Country Showdown and won the state title in the 2004. Johnny wrote or co-wrote all of the songs on his CD What Happens Here Stays Here. He performs in his hometown of Orlando with a five-piece band at various festivals. Performing, two original pieces – What Happens Here Stays Here and How Could I Not – in the competition, they displayed their songwriting talents. For photos, show dates and more, visit

The 27th Annual Colgate Country Showdown National Final, one-hour special- will air nationwide, over syndicated television in March and April. For local broadcast information visit the Colgate Country Showdown website at

Johnny Bulford accepts his win and says a few words during the award ceremony

For more photos of the event, visit

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