CEDAR RAPIDS — Any one of last night’s contenders would have done Eastern Iowa proud opening for Alan Jackson and the KHAK 50th Birthday Bash on June 9. But someone’s gotta win. Lonesome Road’s kicking quartet tallied the most points between four judges in the final round of a three-week competition May 10, 2012, at Hazzard County Saloon in downtown Cedar Rapids. The crowds came out to cheer on their favorites among Loaded, solo guitarist Adam Keith, Smokin’ Guns and Lonesome Road. Plenty of dancing, cheering and clapping accompanied the bands through their 20-minute sets, strutting their stuff for judges Doug Thornton and Steve Brill from Concert Tours for Radio, based in Des Moines; Lovar Davis Kidd, Broadway dancer and owner of MOvMNT Dance in Cedar Rapids; and Diana Nollen, Arts and Entertainment writer for SourceMedia in Cedar Rapids. Kidd, Nollen and Casey Prince, executive director at Theatre Cedar Rapids, judged the preliminary rounds April 26 and May 3 at Hazzard County. Each band was rated on musical quality (up to 10 points); stage presence and crowd interaction (up to 5 points); and appearance and professionalism (up to 5 points). The final tallies were close, but Lonesome Road was the clear winner, wowing judges with tight harmonies, instrumentals, interaction and the way the musicians traded the spotlight for lead vocals and instrumental riffs. Founded in October 2009, the Cedar Rapids band includes Danny Whitson on acoustic guitar and vocals, Jeff Mattison on lead guitar and vocals, Chad Chopard on bass guitar and Rob Carnahan on drums. Other contenders were Nearly Elvis, Copper Moon, Midwest Express, Logan Peck and Whiskey and Woe. Lonesome Road will take the stage at 1 p.m. June 9, with a 20-minute set launching KHAK’s 50th Birthday Bash. The daylong, rain or shine outdoor celebration continues with Joe Nichols, Phil Vassar, Steve Holy, Craig Campbell and headliner Alan Jackson at 8 p.m. The stage will be set up in front of the Alliant Energy Tower, with spectators seated in the parking lot across the street, May’s Island and the Second and Third avenue bridges. Gates open at 11:30 a.m. on the corner First Street SW and Second Avenue. Tickets are $40 general admission in advance and $50 day of show; $55 Gold Circle; and $125 for VIP seating, at redtrucktickets.com or (515) 657-6128. - By Diana Nollen