PARKERSBURG - Five regional winners of the Texaco Country Showdown got the 2014 Parkersburg Homecoming Festival off to a great start with a local contestant taking top honors.
Jake Binegar, 19, who was originally from Waterford and now lives in Little Hocking, won the state final against four other contestants and will advance to the northeast regional final. The winners there will advance to the national finals in January at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.
Binegar also won $1,000 at the event.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Five-year-old Lila Barnes, left, grabs the arm of 17-year-old Zach Barnes while he and seven-year-old Brayden Lamp talk as they waited for the start of the Restless Heart concert Friday at the annual Parkersburg Homecoming.
Photo by Jeffrey Saulton
Little Hocking resident Jake Binegar won the West Virginia State Finals for the Texaco Country Showdown Friday during the Parkersburg Homecoming Festival. Binegar won $1,000 and will advance to the northeast regional competition in October. Dave Queen, in the background, was with the band that played backup for all the contestants.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Mike Baxter of Gaines Tent Rental helps to erect a tent Friday which will house medical personnel for this morning’s Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half-Marathon.
Photo by Jeffrey Saulton
After the country showdown Restless Heart took the stage at the Parkersburg Homecoming Festival Friday. Bass guitarist Paul Gregg and keyboardist Dave Innis are seen at the end of the opening number.
Binegar said this was his second attempt at the showdown. Binegar said the first time he failed to advance past the first round of the competition.
After his win, Binegar said for him his day was just starting as he had a performance to do later in the evening.
Binegar said he was at a loss for words.
Parkersburg Homecoming Schedule
* 8 a.m.: Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon.
* 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Model Railroad Club Open House (601 Green St. Rear)
* Noon: Grand Parade on Market Street
* 1 p.m.: Coloring Contest (Bicentennial Park Stage)
* 1:30 p.m.: Parkersburg Homecoming Corn Hole Tournament (Second and Market streets)
* 1-5 p.m. Pressley Ridge Ice Cream Challenge
* 2 p.m.: Dog Show (Riverfront Park Amphitheater); TheNewsCenter Homecoming Talent Show (Suddenlink Stage); Steve Dixon Magic Show (Bicentennial Park Stage)
* 3 p.m.: Pretty Baby Contest (Ages 0-5 months)(Ages 6-11 months)
* 4 p.m.: Steve Dixon Magic Show (Bicentennial Park Stage); Get Rhythm Karaoke (Riverfront Park Amphitheater)
* 5 p.m.: Pioneer Antique Car Club on Market Street
* 5:30 p.m.: Jana Freeland (Riverfront Park Amphitheater)
* 7 p.m.: Insured Sound (Suddenlink Stage); Nate DiRuzza (Riverfront Park Amphitheater)
* 8:30 p.m.: Almost Queen (Suddenlink Stage)
*10 p.m.: Fireworks from Fort Boreman Hill
* 10 a.m.: Kids Fishing Derby
* 10:30 a.m. South Parkersburg Baptist Church services
* Noon: Pretty Baby Contest (Ages 12 months-3 years) (Riverfront Park Amphitheater)
* Noon-4 p.m.: Model Railroad Club Open House (601 Green St. Rear)
* 1 p.m.: Soap Box Derby (Market Street); Tiny Tot Trot (Stadium Field at Parkersburg High School)
* 1-5 p.m.: 13th annual Johnny Staats Bluegrass Festival (Bicentennial Park Stage) featuring The Mud Ducks at 1 p.m., Virgil Harden at 2 p.m. and Johnny Staats and the Delivery Boys at 4 p.m.
* 2 p.m.: High Schools That Rock + Music Makers Club (Riverfront Park Amphitheater)
* 3:30 p.m.: Anthony Mossburg (Riverfront Park Amphitheater)
* 5 p.m.: Elev8 Nation (Riverfront Park Amphitheater)
* 7 p.m. Plan B (Suddenlink Stage)
* 8 p.m. Rubber Ducky Drawing (Suddenlink Stage)
* 8:30 p.m. The Guess Who (Suddenlink Stage); River Rock Band (Riverfront Park Amphitheater)
"I've been trying to find the words," he said. "Unimaginable I guess. It feels like a load off my back. I've been nervous all day."
Binegar said music is now his only job.
"I've been at this full time since July," he said.
Binegar said between now and the next round he plans to keep performing.
"I'll just keep playing," he said. "I'll just keep on keepin' on and get my name out there a little more."
Fans of country music at the main stage said they enjoyed hearing all the hopefuls.
"Some of them were pretty good, but some were off key," said Ernie Kroese of Macfarlan, W.Va. "It was still enjoyable to listen to them, though."
Kroese said he was looking forward to the headliner, Restless Heart.
"I know a lot of their music and I've enjoyed them," he said.
His sister Dora Kroese said they attend the concerts at the Parkersburg Homecoming.
"We're here every year," she said. "This year it's good; we have Almost Queen; we checked them out on You Tube, and of course the Guess Who on Sunday, you can't go wrong."
Harold and Sue Yglesias of Parkersburg said they arrived for the Restless Heart concert and found the showdown to be a good show as well.
"They were very good," Sue said.
"We came for the music and the funnel cakes," Harold said.
For today the festival continues with the 2014 Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon at 8 a.m., followed by the Parkersburg Homecoming Parade at noon on Market Street.