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3rd Annual Midwest Country Music Organization Awards Weekend & Networking Workshop

Minneapolis, Minn., February 21, 2022 – The Midwest Country Music Organization held its third annual awards and networking conference February 19 and 20. The event, which took place at Medina Entertainment Center, paid tribute to country music artists, radio affiliates and industry professionals from the five-state region.


With the organization’s recent launch of its syndicated weekly radio show, Midwest Country Music Originals, the “roots of radio” was fitting for the award show’s overarching theme. Hosted by the organization’s founder Paul Thomas “PT” and 2019 Midwest CMO Maverick award winner Poppa Bear Norton, the duo captivated the audience taking them on a journey thru the decades. Their clever shticks and witty, original jingles were peppered between 18 award presentations and 15 musical performance mash ups by nearly 30 artists, including legendary music icon Sherwin Linton. Concluding on a grateful note, many of the night’s nominees gathered on stage for a harmonious finale of “Thank You for Being a Friend”.


2021 Midwest CMO award winners included:


Entertainer of the Year – Chris Kroeze

Male Vocalist – Chris Kroeze

Female Vocalist – Erin Grand

Humanitarian – Paul Thomas “PT” for his work with the #LIVIN Foundation

Band of the Year – Lake & Lyndale

Album of the Year – “Moonshine” by Maygen & the Birdwatcher

Song of the Year – “Wide Awake” by Hailey James

New Artist – Hailey James

Americana Artist – Maygen & the Birdwatcher

Songwriter – Sarah Morris

Video of the Year – “Just for Show” by Ted Hajnasiewicz

Maverick – The Jensen Sisters

Tribute Act – Church of Cash, Jay Ernest

Studio Engineer – Greg Huberty

Live Sound – Cevin Reed

Content Creator – Chris Walden, Chris Walden Photography

Radio Station – KLCI 106.1 Total Country BOB FM (Twin Cities, MN)

Venue – Le Musique Room


Prefaced by its annual networking conference, emerging and seasoned artists alike learned how to get the most out of the organization’s membership from Midwest CMO membership director and board member Matt Graunke. Attendees also took part in a panel discussion with regional radio station professionals including: J. Brooks – KISS 98.7, Mason City IA; Bill Satre – B93.3, Brainerd/Nisswa MN; Bernie Merrill – Home Country Radio FM98.5, Algona IA; Paul Thomas “PT” – 102.9 The Wolf, Mpls/St. Paul MN. Additionally, Nashville artist management company, The Holland Group, addressed topics related to building a foundation, touring, sponsorships, merchandising and more.  The day also included an advanced songwriter workshop led by Nashville hit songwriter Brett Jones.


The Midwest Country Music Organization’s fourth annual event is slated for President’s Day weekend 2023.


About Midwest CMO

The Midwest Country Music Organization (Midwest CMO) launched in 2018 with a vision to establish a network of musicians, businesses, and fans to cultivate the country music community in the Midwest. It has quickly grown to well over 170 artist members across 5 states! Working together, despite the pandemic has been a critical charge that has added strength to the mission of Midwest CMO and the artists and fans it serves. For more information, visit

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