All five performing groups were onstage: Jagertown, Hudson Lights, Ashley Hess, The Strike and Mayday Red. The master of ceremonies paused. The audience waited with baited breath on the sloped sides of the Scera Shell to see who had won the Stadium of Fire Talent Competition on June 11. It all came down to a tiny slip of paper.
The emcee took a breath and announced The Strike as the winner of the competition to a roaring audience. WIth the win, The Strike will open for Kelly Clarkson and Carly Rae Jepsen at the Stadium of Fire in LaVell Edwards Stadium this July.
The evening had been filled with energetic, fun music that frequently moved the audience to dance at the front of the stage, but notwithstanding the other bands’ performances, to many of the audience members, The Strike was the clear winner.
Rachel Drake and Alex Dayton watched the free show for the first time this year.
“(The show) was excellent,” Drake said. “I loved The Strike. They have so much energy; it was so much fun to watch them.”
“It was phenomenal,” Dayton added. “(There) was a lot of talent, for sure.”
Rob Qualls, a senior majoring in bass performance, is The Strike’s bass player. He has been with the group since they formed and says the The Strike’s success still doesn’t quite feel real sometimes.
“It is absolutely unreal,” Qualls said. “The experience here, the actual rush onstage, and asking for autographs and … doing all of these things that a few months ago were just a dream for us … we really literally could not do it without (the fans).”
It isn’t surprising that Qualls feels like The Strike hasn’t been together that long, because it hasn’t been. The band formed last October and gained popularity when it won the Battle of the Bands at BYU at the end of February. In the midst of preparing to put out an album, the band considered going out for the Stadium of Fire competition. When The Strike first thought about going for it, Qualls shared what the members of the band were all thinking.
“Well, we (were) going to shoot for Stadium of Fire and see what happens,” Qualls said.