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Oh I Wish: Local group plays way to finals

Skaneateles resident Dick Sheridan never thought he would be a finalist in a national singing contest. He definitely didn't think it would be for singing "I wish were an Oscar Mayer Wiener."

But, that's what happened.

Sheridan, a member of the "State Fair Four," a Dixieland Quartet that greets visitors to the State Fair each year and his band are in the final four of the national "Sing the Jingle, Be a Star," contest sponsored by Oscar Mayer.

Sheridan, along with trombone player Bobby Morris of Clay, tuba player Burt Dunlap of Syracuse and cornet player Woody Peters of Locke entered the contest not looking for fame, but almost as a joke.

They were doing a quick spot for a noon TV news broadcast when employees at the Wienermobile beckoned the group, instruments in hand over to do a version of the famous jingle.

"We just played it without rehearsing," Sheridan said. "We had been playing all day at the fair so we were instrumentally geared up. It was just done a whim and we never thought anything of it. Three weeks ago we get word that we were national finalists."

Winners are determined by popular vote, and anyone can vote by registering at singthejingle.com (see voting guide, page 8). Voters can vote once per day until 11:59 on Feb. 15. The winner will be announced on March 1.

The group grand prize is a three-day trip for each group member and a guest to the 2008 American Idol Finale Performance Show in Los Angeles and $5,000 spending money. The group will also get a five-day to a taping of an Oscar Mayer TV commercial in a location to be determined.

Sheridan has never seen American Idol, but plans on watching it soon.

"The three other finalists are kids," Sheridan said. "There's an old vaudeville saying that goes, 'Never follow an act that has kids or dogs.' My saying has become 'Que sera-ra', whatever will be, will be.

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