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Young York County Composer, Musician Wins First-Ever Farm Show Talent Contest
HARRISBURG – People kicked up their heels and kicked out the jams in the “Farm Show’s Got Talent Contest,” a new event at the 2009 Pennsylvania Farm Show held Tuesday, Jan. 13. Thirty-one acts danced, sang and strummed their best in hopes of being named the champion of the contest.
The overall winner was 16-year-old Alex Peffer of Etters, Pa., singing and playing the keyboard to a song he composed called “Make My Day.” He won his division before being named the champion.   
Peffer has been playing piano and composing music for the past 10 years, and has been singing for five. A sophomore at Red Land High School in Lewisberry, Pa., Peffer is active in the jazz band, school musicals and the Chamber Singers. He performed “Make My Day” in his school’s talent competition and received first place.
“I’m pretty excited that I won,” Peffer said. “It really did ‘make my day.’”
Peffer is planning to try out for American Idol in 2010 and hopes to pursue a career in music.
In addition to receiving a $50 savings bond for winning his division and a $250 savings bond for being named champion, Peffer will perform at the Farm Show Closing Ceremonies on Saturday, Jan. 17.
Peffer and his 30 competitors were evaluated by a panel of six judges on the basis of their ability and expertise, stage presence and creativity. The judges were Kelli Harman and Thomas Kennerly of the Harman Agency in Harrisburg, Pa.; Senator Mike Waugh; Joel Hoover of the Laurel Arts in Somerset, Pa.; Wendy Sledd of Carlisle, Pa., the reigning Mrs. Pennsylvania Galaxy 2009; and Velda Avis Jones, singer and actress.
The program kicked off with a message from Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Dennis Wolff and Jean Kummer, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Deputy Press Secretary, served as emcee for the evening.
While the judges were making their final decisions, the audience was entertained by Shelby Nestler and Gary Swartz. Nestler plays and sings in a local country music band called Make Mine Country, and Swartz is the road manager and a musician in the Cash Crew with Tommy Cash, brother of the legendary Johnny Cash.
The prizes were sponsored by Keystone BioFuels of Shiremanstown, Pa.  
Junior 4-H/FFA Vocal Solo Female: Maddie Zendt, Juniata County
Senior 4-H/FFA Vocal Solo Female: Rachel Geraci, Allegheny County 
Intermediate Agribusiness Vocal Solo Female: Vanessa Lyn, Carbon County
Senior Agribusiness Vocal Solo Female: Charann Foster, Huntingdon County
Senior 4-H/FFA Vocal Solo Male: Coston Cross, Venago County
Senior 4-H/FFA Dance Solo: Andrea Fedrizzi, Lawrence County
Junior Agribusiness Dance Solo: Ashley Price, Chester County
Intermediate Agribusiness Dance Solo: Ashley Devine, Chester County
Senior 4-H/FFA Dance Group: Ashley Shaw & Megan Klawitter, Dauphin County
Junior 4-H/FFA Instrumental Solo: Grace Kensinger, Lancaster County
Senior 4-H/FFA Instrumental Solo: Jordan Reitz, Lycoming County
Junior Agribusiness Instrumental Solo: Cody Stoner, Centre County
Intermediate Agribusiness Instrumental Solo: Alex Peffer, York County
Junior 4-H/FFA Instrumental Group: Alex & Kaylee Smith, Franklin County
Intermediate Agribusiness Instrumental Group: Joseph, Mary & Elizabeth Abraham, Dauphin County
Senior Agribusiness Instrumental Group: Nick Albert, Dauphin County 
The Pennsylvania Farm Show is the largest indoor agricultural event in the nation, featuring nearly 6,000 animals, 10,000 competitive exhibits and 270 commercial exhibitors.  The eight-day show is Jan. 10-17, at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center in Harrisburg.  Admission is free and parking is $8. 
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For photos of the Farm Show's Got Talent contest, click here.