For the second year in a row, a Brookings resident was the winner of the Oregon State Fair talent competition.
Stephanie La Torre, who won at the Curry County Fair talent competition in July 30, won first place against 13 other competitors in the adult division in Salem on Sept. 4. She performed “I’m a Woman,” by Peggy Lee, the same song she sang in Gold Beach.
Following the talent contest, last year’s winner, Jessie Goergen, performed a concert on the same stage. Next year, La Torre will be given the opportunity to perform following the talent competition in Salem.
In addition to the performance opportunity in 2012, La Torre won a package of cash and prizes. She said she didn’t know what she won because it’s going to be a couple of weeks before she receives the package. She thinks it’s worth about $2,000.
“I was surprised,” La Torre said about winning the competition. “I thought another group was going to win.” The group sang a piece from an opera and one of the five judges was an opera singer.
Plus La Torre said she felt she didn’t do as well as she could have because she was tired.
The night before, Lucky 7 Casino in Smith River, where La Torre is advertising and events coordinator, hosted two concerts by The Drifters. La Torre worked until the show was over and the house cleaned up.
“After a four-hour nap, I was up at 6 a.m. to head to Salem for the competition.” La Torre said. “This was part of the reason I didn’t feel I did as good as I could have. I was tired and I sounded tired to me.”
Perhaps the judges didn’t think she sounded tired, though, La Torre said. As she stood on stage they announced third place, then second and finally they announced her name.
The opera group didn’t place.
Judging is based on appearance, stage presence and talent. Also winning in the adult division were Abbe Groh, representing Polk County, second place; Aiji Jean, representing Deschutes County, third place.
La Torre said she is no longer eligible to complete at the fair, so she said next year her husband Tony La Torre, an Elvis impersonator, plans to participate in the Curry County Fair talent show.
Meanwhile, La Torre said, she will perform wherever they let her sing.
Her upcoming performances include “Nuncrackers” with Lighthouse Repertory Theater in Crescent City in November, and she will be opening for Tony La Torre when he presents “Christmas with the King” in Brookings in December.