Nelson wins talent contest at Jackpot Junction

This article submitted by Linda Stelling on 03/25/97.

Terry Nelson, Paynesville, was shocked when his name was called as the the winner of the sixth week of the Jackpot Casino sponsored talent contest March 11. He was in attendance for all but one of the previous weekís contests. He knew how tough the competition was.

Nelson did a Brooks and Dunn song, as well as ďEmpty Places,Ē which he wrote. His performance was good enough to win, qualifying him for the finals on April 8. If he wins a second time, he will receive $10,000 and a contract for some playing dates.

A native of Lidgerwood, N.D., he once wanted to learn how to play the guitar. His uncle bought him a guitar, and his parents arranged for him to take lessons. After three years, Nelson decided to quit taking lessons. He couldnít read the notes.

Then, when Nelson was a freshman in high school, John Ahrens came to the school. ďHe taught me more in three weeks than I had learned in three years,Ē Nelson said.

He began playing songs on the guitar ďby earĒ and formed a band a month later. After high school, Nelson was part of the Tommy Martinek Band based in New Effington, S.D.

Music was secondary to his regular job as a parts man with John Deere in North Dakota, and later in moves to Wheaton and Hector, Minn. It was at Hector where he began work at Langs Automotive and bought the owner out eight years ago. Today, the part-time musician owns the NAPA store in Hector.

The Terry Nelson Band stayed together 12 years before disbanding. The current four-piece group has been together five years. ďWe do a lot of wedding dances,Ē he said of the bandís range of 50s, 60s, country and country-rock music. The band doesnít advertise, they get jobs by word of mouth.

The Terry Nelson Band has prided itself on keeping thevolume softó ďThatís one of our trademarks. We watch for that,Ē he said.

Although he has said he once had burnout from too much weekend work with the band, Nelson said music is just a hobby. ďItís the only hobby that I found where people pay you to do what you want to do.Ē

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