Songwriters from the Texoma area gathered at the Prairie Room of the Great Plains Coliseum in Lawton Monday night to compete for a chance to enter a national competition. The event crowd was amazing and the evening produced some great original material - three talented individuals who won the contest are a step closer to national recognition.

I served as one of the three judges for the competition, hosted locally by Jerry's Music Emporium in Lawton, and presented nationally by TheSongwriters.biz. When all is said and done, the competition will have covered 30 music stores in 30 cities throughout 8 states. On the local level, Jerry's Music took entries for several weeks. From those entries, 15 were chosen to compete Monday night.

Judging a songwriting competition is much different than judging a talent competition. It's a completely different mindset. You have to disregard the performers vocal quality and appearance. You're judging the song - not the singer. Hence, you're judging with your ears - not your eyes.

Third place went to Nicole Howard for "Fire" - a song that would rev up even the most reserved of congregations during Sunday Service.

In second place was Mark Weber and his cleverly written song "Return Correspondence".

And first place went to Jason Tompkins with "Lack Of The Righteous", a song about personal struggles and faith. That's Jason pictured above between competition hosts Brad Davis and Rick Parent.

All three will go into a pool for the finals. Details on that here. Voting for the Lawton competition is scheduled to run for 3 weeks, beginning March 4th. Click here for voting info.