PRESTONSBURG, Ky. (WYMT) - This year's Country Music Highway Road to Fame began back in April with auditions. On Saturday the competition came to a close.
10 singers from throughout Eastern Kentucky took the stage at the Mountain Arts Center in Prestonsburg in hopes of being named the winner.
It was also a homecoming for Martin County's, Angaleena Presley, who performed and served as a judge.
"That came right out of your soul and sounds like something I would have written and I'm jealous I didn't write it," Presley said to contestant Haley Sullivan.
Presley says she is passionate about preserving and showcasing the heritage in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky while also helping create opportunities for what she says is an abundance of talent in the area. "A lot of the songs I've written are based off of stories and experiences...we really have a unique mountain culture here," explains Presley.
That talent was on full display Saturday night as each contestant performed two songs, facing the judges with what they say was a very difficult decision.
After several minutes of deliberation the judges announced the 19-year-old, Holly Thompson, as the winner.
Thompson, currently a student at Berea College is from Wayland. She says, "The talent is absolutely amazing, I can't imagine any better people in the entire state. It has just been the most amazing journey and the biggest competition I've ever been in. I didn't think I was going to win, honestly!"
Thompson's family says it is the result of years of hard work and they know she will continue to work hard as she further pursues her dream..
Gina Thompson says, "More hard work but she's up for the challenge. She's a hard worker and this is her dream."
Most importantly Thompson says this provides her with hope for the future and the next step on her journey.
Thompson won a recording session at the Mountain Arts Center Studio, consulting with Bernard Porter at PCG Nashville, and $2,500.
There was a tie for both second and third place:
2nd Place - Jordan Morgan, Hyden
Kori Breeding, Jeremiah
3rd Place - Shelley Young, Whitesburg
Haley Sullivan, Phyllis