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Merced's 'Whisky Row' to compete in National Country Showdown in Nashville

Merced’s Whisky Row will compete in the 28th Annual Colgate Country Showdown in Nashville for the chance to win $100,000 and the title “Best New Act in Country Music,” promoters said.

America’s largest country music talent search will hold its National Final at the Ryman Auditorium Jan. 14, with LeAnn Rimes hosting for the fourth straight year.

The five regional winners will compete for $100,000 and the title, “Best New Act in Country Music,” the Colgate-Palmolive news release said.

A one-hour special will be taped for television and will be nationally syndicated to air in the spring. Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and the Showdown starts at 7:30 p.m. For free tickets, call the Ryman Box Office at (615) 889-9060.

Whisky Row (West Region) consists of Michael Pereira and Jason Ruffoni. The country duo has been together for more than 14 years. Country legends George Strait and Clint Black are major influences on their music. After learning to play guitar, they began to write music together. To know more about them, go to They represent KUBB, Merced.

Each year, more than 50,000 artists compete in local competitions throughout the U.S., Colgate-Palmolive said. Past local, state and regional winners include Brad Paisley, Garth Brooks, Martina McBride, Billy Ray Cyrus, Sara Evans and Miranda Lambert.