A video production company, an apparel company and a radio station were the top three business ideas to grow North Platte on Oct. 21, in the second annual “Big Idea” contest organized by North Platte’s Young Professionals.

Organizer Cassie Condon of the North Platte Chamber said there were 225 attendees at the finals.

Ten finalists gave pitches ranging from product inventions, including top 5 finalist William Merritt’s Magnetic Shingles.

In the youth division, Alex Schimek of Pristine Clean presented his operation and won a $1,000 scholarship.

Schimek said he does power washing, lawn mowing, yard work and “pretty much anything anyone won’t do.”

After the live pitches, the judges — community leaders and last year’s Big Idea winner Casey Schiel — voted to narrow the ideas to five. Then, audience members voted on the top three, who received cash prizes to develop their ideas.

Taking home third and $3,000 was Adi Fernandez for her idea for Radio X, a Spanish radio station to help bridge the gap between the Hispanic community and local businesses.

Adi Fernandez presents her big idea.

Winning second and $5,000 was Hide Park Apparel owner Josh Sperle. Sperle puts pieces of leather from worn footballs on high quality caps, cutting repurposed, game-used, genuine leather footballs into shapes representing each of the 50 states. The Hide Park Apparel company, which is already operation, intends to add more staff, invest in more equipment, inventory and marketing, Condon said.

Josh Sperle wearing a Hide Park hat.

First place and $8,000 went Bunkhouse Media, owned by Tennessee transplant Bobbi Walters who operates a production company dedicated to wedding videos. Walters plans to continue her work and grow her digital presence for small businesses.

Bobbi Walters with her check.

Each winner also won advertising packages courtesy of Eagle Communications and the North Platte Telegraph.

The North Platte Young Professionals look forward to another year of Big Ideas in 2022, Condon said.

The contest was sponsored in part by the North Platte Chamber and Development, Beveridge Inc., Gateway Realty, Great Plains Foot and Ankle, NebraskaLand Bank, Whitetail Screen Print, Black Goose Art & Design, Commercial Investment Services, Brigham’s Taproom, Mid Plains Community College, Nebraska Enterprise Fund, and University of Nebraska Kearney.

For more information, see NPYP on Facebook.

© 2021 The North Platte Bulletin. All rights reserved.