UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | April 15, 2024

Dixie’s Got Talent brings new excitement, talent to stage

The St. George community is invited to attend the 13th annual Dixie’s Got Talent competition Jan. 25 to help support the different contestants. Ten adult and ten youth volunteer performances are expected to display various talents from planned dances, song performances and more. Mason Britton | Sun News Daily

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If you’ve ever wanted to be in the audience of the hit competition “America’s Got Talent,” then you’ll want to attend this year’s local spinoff of the show. Even better, you could play a role in deciding the winner.

This year marks the 13th annual Dixie’s Got Talent competition, a display of performers and entertainers from Washington County. The competition will showcase 10 contestants from the adult category and 10 contestants in the youth category.

Open auditions began in November 2023 when participants submitted online video submissions displaying their talents. The top finalists were then chosen by a panel of judges through a competitive process of live auditioning. The list of finalists and recordings of past performances can be found on the Dixie’s Got Talent webpage.

The event is a fundraiser hosted by the Utah Tech Alumni Association, aimed to support student scholarships and the association.

“The best part of this event is that the audience gets a great show, they get to do something good for the students, and they also get a great performance,” said John Bowler, director of alumni relations.

The first Dixie’s Got Talent fundraiser took place in 2011 and has been showcasing Washington County’s residents ever since.

“We’re still a regional area known as Dixie,” Bowler said about the event retaining “Dixie” in its name following the university’s adoption of Utah Tech University. “It’s not a Utah Tech event. It’s a community event.”

The contestant in each category with the highest score will be crowned “Dixie’s Got Talent winners” and be awarded a $500 cash prize, with an additional $250 awarded to both runners-up. Winners will be chosen by the judge’s scoring and through the Donate to Vote process. This process allows members of the audience to assist in the scoring process of each contestant, with the highest-ranking contestant taking home the gold. 

Preslee Heppler, a freshman individualized studies major from St. George, is a singer-songwriter who will be performing at the finale show. Heppler began singing and performing at only 6 years old and has previously competed in the youth section of DGT.

“When I saw the advertisement for it [DGT], I figured why not do it again,” Heppler said. “I just love music, and that’s why I chose to pursue it.”

Heppler is a member of the Utah Tech concert choir and also records original songs and covers at Plaid Skeleton Studios. At the finale show, Heppler plans on performing “Under the Bridge” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

“I’m hoping it’s nostalgic for some people,” Heppler said. “I want the audience to have a good time.”

Also performing at the show is a pole dancing group from Studio Invert, a fitness center based in St. George. The four-person team includes Alyssa Goodrich, co-founder and owner of the studio.

“I hope the audience will be inspired to try it themselves,” Goodrich said. “We want people to see that there’s more to pole dancing than they’d think.”

This is the group’s first time performing together, but Goodrich has been practicing pole fitness for nearly a decade. She has also worked with students from Studio Invert to start the Pole Fitness Club at Utah Tech to encourage students to try out the new style of exercise. Goodrich and her team will be performing a short two-pole routine at the DGT finale show to showcase their advanced mobility and strength.

The 2024 Dixie’s Got Talent competition will take place Jan. 25 at 7:30 p.m. at the Eccles Fine Arts Center. Tickets can be purchased online for $35 per person. The event will also be streamed live for free. Further information regarding the contestants and the event can be found on the Dixie’s Got Talent page or by following @dixiesgottalent on Instagram and Facebook.