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Laura Waters Crowned 2013 Grand Master Fiddler Champion

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Grand Master Fiddler)Nashville, TN -- The Grand Master Fiddler Champion for 2013 is Laura Waters of Idaho Falls, Idaho. Jesse Maw of Kalispell, Montana placed second. The two-day 42nd annual Grand Master Fiddler Championship is the nation’s championship event held at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We had such a tremendous group of fiddlers who keenly competed for the various titles we awarded this year,” said Howard Harris, GMFC president. “Competing on stage at the Country Music Hall of Fame only enhanced the energy shared by the competitors as they were cheered on by dedicated music and fiddling fans. It was a wonderful venue in which to combine two historic legacies.”

Waters took home $1,200 in cash, a Grand Master Fiddler plaque, and appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. This was her first Grand Master championship. Maw received $1,100 and a plaque.

The Grand Master Fiddler Championship, Inc. is a Tennessee non-profit and a U.S. IRS 501(c)(3) charitable corporation, formed to educate about and perpetuate fiddling as an art form and cultural treasure.

Fiddlers competed for over $10,000 in prizes. Competitors showed their talents amongst some of the leading performers in acoustic music including the Riders in the Sky, Texas Lace, Britney Monroe, Randall Franks, Main Stage Fusion and Explosion Dance Teams, and Dale Morris, Sr.

In honor of its founder, the organization presented the Dr. Perry F. Harris Award to Buddy Spicher for his work in support of the traditional art of fiddling. Actor/entertainer Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” served as celebrity host for both days of the event. Other organizers include Grand Master Fiddler Championship vice president Ed Carnes and directors Lisa LaFortune and Bobby Taylor. Contest judges were Jacie Sites, Joe Sites, Dale Morris, Sr., Tobi Morris and Bobby Taylor.

“There was such a great group of younger fiddlers this year under the age of 15,” Franks said. “Many could have easily placed well in the main competition. The future of fiddling certainly looks bright based on the talents exhibited.”

Among the sponsors were Fletcher Bright Company, Metro Nashville Arts Commission, Tennessee Arts Commission, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, National Fiddler Hall of Fame, the Country Music Hall of Fame, and Lockstep Technology.

The other top-10 winners included in descending order: Junior Marriott of Ava, Missouri; Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Katrina Nicolayeff of Boise, Idaho; Doug Fleener of Leitchfield, Kentucky; Eli Bishop of Nashville, Tennessee; Cody Marriott of Ava, Missouri; Bubba Hopkins of Fort Worth, Texas; and Aria Stiles of Apple Valley, Minnesota.

Contestants placing 11 through 20 are Justin Branum of St. Louis, Missouri; Harrison Schumann of San Antonio, Texas; Grant Rigney of Normandy, Tennessee; Miya Saito-Beckman of Bend, Oregon; and Aynsley Porchak of Ontario, Canada; Andrew Lin of Lexington, Kentucky; Joel Whittinghill of Bowling Green, Kentucky; Billy Contreras of Nashville, Tennessee; Karissa Nugent of Burleson, Texas and Jeff Guernsey of Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Jeff Guernsey received the Charlie Bush Traditional Fiddler Performance Award from the GMFC presented in honor of late director Charlie Bush.

The Grand Master Traditional Champion is Tyler Andal of Tennessee who won $300 and the Sen. Robert C. Byrd Award. Other winners in descending order are John Boulware, Missy Daley, Mikaela Langley, Brandon Godman, Tanner Marriott, Abby Morris, Woody Hall and Preston Marriott.

The Grand Master Youth Champion is Trustin Baker of Birchtree, Missouri He won $300 and a plaque. Other winners in descending order are River Lee, Justin Sherfey, Ivy Phillips, Jacob Johnson, Allie Hagan, Emma DeJarnette, Alicyn Newman, Matthew Lin and Lauren Clardy. Newman and Lin tied in eighth place. Winning guitar accompanists are Anthony Mature, Ray Brandin, Sterling Abernathy, Jim Reina and Ted Williams.

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