KALISPELL, Mont. -

Singers and songwriters saddled up for their chance to become the next country music superstar.

Adults and kids of all ages auditioned this morning for the Texaco Country Showdown. The showdown is sponsored by local radio stations and is essentially the country music version of American Idol. Winners from Kalispell move on to the state contest in Great Falls. After states there?s a regional championship and the chance compete at the finals in Nashville.

Judge John Michaels says it's the best way for local musicians to get their feet wet.

"Just seeing the talent and getting out and meeting people,? Michaels explained, ?And being here at the Kalispell Center Mall. A lot of folks like to come out and see what kind of talent we have. So yeah, just getting out and about and seeing what kind of talent we have."

Country music stars such as LeAnn Rimes, Toby Keith, and Garth Brooks have all competed in the Texaco Country Showdown at one point in their career.