Originally published in Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer
James Mayse, Feburary 10, 2023

The Owensboro Parks and Recreation Department and Independence Bank will offer $5,000 in scholarship money to high school students through the parks department’s “Dugan’s Got Talent” contest.

The competition is open to students between the ages of 14 and 18, and audition videos are being accepted through Feb. 17.
To participate, students must submit a 30-second video of their routine through the parks department’s website, owensboroparks.org. Acts can have no more than five participants. Acts must be family friendly and abide by guidelines.

Kerry Bodenheimer, recreational superintendent for the parks department, said a committee will review the entries and choose 24. Those 24 videos will be posted on the parks department’s website — owensboroparks.org — where the public will vote.

Public voting will take place through the website March 13-18.

“It will be the public that chooses the 10 that will move forward,” Bodenheimer said.

The top 10 vote-getters will perform their entire act at the talent show April 14 at Dugan Best. A panel of judges will chose the winners the night of the show.

Students can sing, dance, perform magic tricks, do comedy routines or display other talents. Scholarships will be awarded for first, second, third and fourth place, with the first-place winner receiving $4,000 in scholarship funds.

“We wanted to highlight the great things we do at Dugan Best Recreation Center,” city parks director Amanda Rogers said Thursday. “We are trying to model it a little after ‘American Idol.’ It’s not solely focused on singing.”

Bodenheimer said the event is “totally a new performance for us, meant to highlight all the youth and to showcase their talent.”

Susanne Story, community enrichment officer for Independence Bank, said the scholarships will be held in accounts until the student turns 18, and they can be used for any post-high school education or vocational training.

The bank contributed $3,500 to scholarships. The parks department allocated $1,500.

“We are super proud to be part of ‘Dugan’s Got Talent,’ ” Story said. “It fits in our mission on so many levels.”

The goal of the Independence Bank Foundation is “all about improving the lives of people in our community,” Story said, and partnering in the event “is an easy ‘yes’ for us.”

Tickets for the show go on sale to the public March 23.

The event is a way to introduce the public events happening at Dugan Best, Bodenheimer said.

Dugan Best staff “are unsung heroes,” she said. “We wanted to showcase them in a positive light, and all that the youth in our community can do.”