Crawfordsville's True Country 106.3 FM is looking for talent with a twang.

The radio station is the local partner in the national Colgate Country Showdown, an annual talent contest looking for the next star in country music. More than 50,000 artists participate in the contest each year at more than 500 local competitions, which culminate in the nationally televised final for a $100,000 prize.

106.3 will host four competitions in February to determine the local finalists who will advance to the state competition. Rumors Bar and Grill will host the first competition Feb. 5, followed by the Burrow in Linden Feb. 9, Hooligan's Feb. 19 and the West Point Steakhouse in Westpoint Feb. 25.

The competition judges artists on five criteria: marketability in country music, vocal/instrumental ability, originality of performance, stage presence/charisma and talent. Artists with original material can receive bonus points for songwriting. Solo artists and groups are welcome.

"It's really 100 percent talent and showmanship that will determine who's going to go on," said Mark Webber, program director for 106.3.

Past showdown participants include Garth Brooks, Martina McBride and Carrie Underwood - though none of them won the contest.

Those interested in joining the contest can pick up an entry form at Crawford Food Store, Morse Family Dentistry, 106.3's offices or any of the competition sites. Participants must pay an entry fee of $15. The deadline to enter is January 19.

Webber said 106.3 is participating in the Colgate Country Showdown to help local artists - a goal the station always strives for with the weekly show, "Voice of the Independent Artist."

"The big thing about the Colgate is it's getting their names exposed," Webber said. "It's been around for such a dog-gone long time that it was just a good fit since we're 'True Country.'"

For more information on the contest, visit its official Web site at colgatecountryshowdown.com or 106.3's Web site at crawfordsvilleradio.com.