Category: Support Person

For more than 50 years, the Bill Riley Talent Search has been a venue for young performers of all types to compete for recognition in Iowa and beyond. Bill Riley grew up traveling Iowa with his father, Bill Riley Senior, a Des Moines television personality and host of the Bill Riley Talent Search. In 1997 the torch was officially passed from father to son. In 2008, Bill left his second career in homebuilding to concentrate

full time on building and expanding the Talent Search.

In 2009, he created the Bill Riley Talent Corporation, a nonprofit 501(c)3 corporation. Its mission was to create opportunities for young Iowans to excel through the performing arts. Bill traveled—and still does—to dozens of local shows each year to encourage and support young Iowans. He also produces and emcees the Bill Riley Talent show each day during the annual Iowa State Fair. 

Once his daily duties are done at the talent show, Bill is assistant to the director of the Iowa State Queen Pageant and emcee of the Iowa State Fair Queen coronation. 

In 2012, Bill was honored to be selected as host of Iowa Public Television’s Iowa State Fair Highlight coverage. He is the third host of the program, carrying on the tradition started by his father, Bill Sr., and the late Mark Pearson.

Throughout his career, Bill has been a consistent supporter of the Iowa Rock ‘n Roll Music Association and its mission, especially as it relates to educating and encouraging Iowa’s youth to be involved in music. Bill’s personal and organizational support of young talent has had a tremendous impact on music and other performing arts in Iowa. 

Honoring achievements, educating youth, and inspiring artists.

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