GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Roger Werners says he brushed aside the first person that approached him about Art Prize in his home state of South Dakota.
Then he was approached again -- and again.
"I did a show in Sioux Falls, South Dakota and I'm sitting there and this lady comes up and says 'you need to do ArtPrize,'" Werners explained. "Then I went to Omaha, Nebraska…doing a show and lady come up and said, "You should be doing ArtPrize in Michigan."
"The third time, we got the computer up and decided that we needed to do ArtPrize."
Werner said the potential to win a portion of a large pool of prize money was a big part of his motivation for coming to the art competition that bills itself as the 'worlds largest' two years in a row.
Werners says his work has been well received and he also seems to be on track toward the prize money. As of this writing he'd landed himself as one of the "Top 25" artists and is hopeful that he'll make the "Top 10" cut which will be announced at 1 p.m. Saturday.
He says visitors are taking aren't just walking by his work -- but they're taking a close look.
"They actually stop," Werners said. "They look. They ask questions. The take your card and they're just amazing. It just keeps coming."
Werners says he feels like a sort of politician as he campaigns for votes sitting near his latest work, "The Mohican Warrier." He says the project took him several months and he's explained how it came together hundreds of times.
Tracy Scheid and her husband were among those who suggested ArtPrize. They were surprised to see he took their advice.
"Just to think that we convinced him to come here two years ago, had no idea they were here, and ran into them. It's just been awesome," Tracy Scheid said.
Bolstered by picture perfect weather, large crowd packed the streets of downtown Grand Rapids all day and into the late night hours on Saturday.
Officers from Grand Rapids and the Kent County Sheriff's Department assisted in traffic control and assisting pedestrians across busy streets.
Area restaraunts report the busiest day during the competition seems to fall on the second Saturday.
Voting ended Saturday night for the first round as the votes will be tabulated and the list of hundreds of artists will be narrowed to just ten.
We'll carry the Top 10 announcement live on WOOD TV8 and woodtv.com at 1 p.m. Sunday.
On Saturday, the Michigan State Spartans will be taking on the Ohio State Buckeyes for the Big Ten College Football title. On Friday, fans began gathering in Indianapolis for the big game.
Two Kalamazoo men are in jail after Kalamazoo officers found them with money stolen from Sunny Mart Friday afternoon.
Two people were taken to the hospital after one vehicle crossed the center line, causing a head-on crash in Ada Township Friday night.