James Nickerson, a young college student from Clearfield, walked off with first place honors at the True

Value Hardware Country Showdown in Vernal on Thursday night.

Nickerson was part of a strong field of 10 finalists. His renditions of "Velvet Chains" and "What I Didn't Do" edged out a high-powered performace by Marla Barnes, who took second, and two solid hard country vocals by Amy Revell.More than 1,000 Vernal area residents turned out for the competition.