RideTheWind's original song, "Stand," was one of approximately 800 songs submitted in the Rock The Camp contest to find "the best of the best" in Christian music during the Internet fan-based voting contest Feb. 1-28.
Band members Jonny McLain, Rick Swearingen, Dave Loughmiller, Dave Henry and Tyler Mattox were eagerly waiting for the results to be posted on the website Sunday evening.
"I was excited to find out the results," Henry told The Brazil Times. "But it started to get late, and I fell asleep."
Shortly after midnight, Loughmiller notified the band members of the results.
"We made it to the top 50," he said. "We've made it through the first phase of voting. Now it starts all over again."
The second round of public voting started March 1, and will end on the 22, with the top-10 moving on to the final round of voting by a panel of industry judges March 23-28.
The grand-prize winner and the top four runners-up in the contest are to be announced sometime around April 6.
The grand prize includes the winner performing first for TobyMac in Music City Nashville, Tenn., before many industry insiders, a recording session with Grammy and Dove award winner Paul Ebersold and performing a showcase of their music during the K-Love's Friends and Family Music Cruise Feb. 1-5, 2011.
Camp Electric and its partners sponsor the contest, which is helping teach young musicians the ropes of the Christian Industry while offering the opportunity to be discovered.
"As soon as the vote button appeared on the website, I voted," Loughmiller said.
"We are so grateful for all the support we've received so far," McLain said. "We hope the local community will help us by voting again."
Meanwhile, the band traveled to Nashville, Tenn., to audition in a musical showcase on Feb. 22. Managers and producers on hand for the event in "Music City" took notice of the band's unique sound.
However, the band took notice of the atmosphere of "Music City" during their overnight stay.
"Everywhere you went, and I mean everywhere, there was music," Henry said.
"It was so exciting. I'm planning to go back and visit it again with my wife for my birthday."
For Mattox, who had never visited Nashville before, the duality of the town was insightful.
"There's the glitz of what you think Nashville is like with all the stars and such," he said. "But then there is also all these people who have gone there for a dream and it's not happening. You walk around and you see it on the faces of people playing in the streets for donations."
According to Swearingen, it didn't take long to find a few music industry stars while walking around, including American Idol's Bo Bice, drummer Jim Thistle (who is originally from Clay County) and a bass guitarist from Saturday Night Live.
"It didn't take long for us to stumble onto a few of Jonny's old acquaintances either," Swearingen said. "It was really a great experience."
The men agreed the trip was an eye-opening experience for everyone.
"It was a huge growth experience for the band," McLain said. "I've been to Nashville before, but going with this group of guys was a new experience, a new journey. And we took it together."
There was also a special reminder of why they are on this journey together.
"Our hotel room was number 316," Henry said. "It made us think of John 3:16."
And the "good news" keeps coming for the band.
ReverbNation (www.reverbnation.com/#/ridethewind), a social network for musicians on the Internet, lists RideTheWind in the number one placing for Christian bands and at the top of the charts for all other musical genres in the Terre Haute and surrounding areas. Three of the band's original songs "Stand," "The Story" and the live version of "Come To The Father" are featured on the website along with a calendar of their upcoming performances.
"We're moving up in the national standings too," Loughmiller said. "A couple of weeks ago, we were in the top 200."
As for an update about the "America's Got Talent" audition, the band has been notified the producers will be notifying contestants in April.
"Everything is coming together," McLain said. "This is such an incredible experience to be a part of and a great bunch of guys to be a part of it with. It is also incredible how much support we have gotten from our community. This is really a positive thing to be happening in our community. We are grateful to be a part of it."
To learn more about RideTheWind, read their daily inspirations, learn about their upcoming performances and/or visit the online store to purchase cell phone ring tones and other items, log onto their Facebook fan page at www.facebook.com/RideTheWindBand or the band's official website at www.ridethewind.com.
How to vote
To vote for RideTheWind's original song, "Stand," in the second phase of the Rock The Camp contest:
Apply for free registration on the website at http://rockthecamp.endavomedia.com/media..., type STAND in the website search engine to listen to the song and cast your vote.
Registered fans may vote only once in a 24-hour time period during the contest.
The second round of voting takes place from March 1-22, with the top-10 songs moving on to the final round of voting by a panel of industry judges March 23-28.
The top five overall winners will be announced on April 6.