St. James, Calcasieu Parish youth win big at La. Farm Bureau Talent Contest

Sam Irwin / Special to The Chief
Junior Talent winners Ashton and Ivan Aucoin of Calcasieu Parsh.

Breleigh Bentivegna of East St. James Parish and the brother duo of Ashton and Ivan Aucoin of Calcasieu Parish took first place honors in their divisions at the talent show of the 96th Annual Convention of the Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation at the New Orleans Marriott Hotel June 22.

Bentivegna competed in the senior division and performed a Matador-style tap dance to the Flamenco tune “Hanuman.” The Aucoin brothers won the prize in the junior division while performing the Cajun music classic, “Bayou Pon Pon.”

Lily Martinez of Pointe Coupee Parish played “Prealudium and Allegro,” a classical violin solo by Kreisler for first runner-up honors in the senior division while Morgan Jeanne Harris of Iberia Parish sang and played guitar to Stevie Nick’s “Landslide” and finished as second runner-up.

In the junior division, Jordan Dunbar sang “Tomorrow” from the Broadway musical “Annie” for first runner-up position and Timber Rees Nichols danced to “My Kind of Girl” and claimed the second runner-up spot.

Mistress of Ceremonies Mariah Simoneaux, an associate extension agent based in St. James Parish, introduced the 28 solo dancers, dancing groups, Cajun fiddlers, ukulele, guitar, piano, and vocal artists who performed an array of Broadway hits, Cajun favorites, spirituals, dramatic dances and popular melodies. The auditorium for the amateur event would have been “sold-out” had this been a professional show.

During the intermission between the junior and senior shows, Bret Lee of Vermilion Parish delivered the speech which earned him first place in the Louisiana Farm Bureau Talk Meet competition. The topic was “How can Farm Bureau help the public perception of the family farm.”

The intermission also treated the audience to a genuine farm auction which raised money for Farm Bureau’s Young Farmer and Ranchers Committee, which will donate the sum to area food banks. Auctioneer Landon White led a rousing auction and sold a guided duck hunt and one-week tractor rental from Progressive Tractor and Implement. Matthew Gravois accepted the donation on behalf of the Young Farmers and Ranchers.