Organizers at the 1890s Day Jamboree Old Time Fiddlers Convention welcomed over 125 contestants including fiddlers, guitarists, mandolinists, bands, banjo players, and cloggers from states across the south to Ringgold, GA on May 24, 2014. Fiddlers and dancers struck a chord with audiences as they cheered dozens of musicians on to victory to win nearly $7,000 in prize money sponsored by Walter Jackson Chevrolet, Complete Cash, Wells Fargo on the Northwest Georgia Bank stage at the historic Catoosa County Courthouse.
“We saw tremendous growth to the contest this year in all the categories. Our focus is to give the youth who will carry this music on an opportunity to learn and grow in their talents as they excel in their instruments,” said contest organizer Lewis Taylor, a champion harmonica player winning titles in several states and numerous contests. “Our volunteers work tirelessly to make this event something everyone can enjoy. Without them, our high caliber judges, and our sponsors, we would not do this successful an event.”
Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro, TN won the Randall Franks Trophy at the 1890s Day Jamboree. Denton also won the 16-21 age category for the chance to compete for the trophy. In the fiddle off, she faced Caleb Bryant (second from right) of Northport, AL winner of the 11-15 category, who won second, Gail Johnson (third from left) of LaVergne,TN from 22-50 category, who placed third, and Mack Snoderly (fifth from left) of Clyde, NC winner of the 51 and up category, who placed fourth.
The top prize is named in honor of Appalachian Ambassador of the Fiddle Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night.” He cheered the top four competitors on in their bid to win the Randall Franks Trophy and the $500 prize. He presented the winners on the main stage with Taylor and emcee Kevin Mudd.
Once holding the title of Georgia State Bluegrass Champion, the International Bluegrass Music Museum Bluegrass Legend and Independent Country Music Hall of Fame inductee is a former member of Bill Monroe’s Blue Grass Boys, Jim and Jesse’s Virginia Boys and numerous other groups who as a guest star often shared his talents for the Grand Ole Opry. Franks hosts the Grand Master Fiddler Championship at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville each year. For more information, visit www.RandallFranks.com.
“I really believe this is one of our best years. Talents of all ages sharing Appalachian fiddle and dance traditions uplift those that see and hear what they can do,” he said. “We are blessed the 1890s Day Jamboree committee feels that this their event is an appropriate place to keep the tradition of the fiddle contests thriving and growing each year right on the Catoosa County courthouse lawn.”
Main Stage Fusion won the team dance competition, Main Stage Revolution took second place Main Stage Explosion won third and Main Stage Attraction received fourth. All the groups were from Springfield, TN. In the bluegrass band competition A Step Ahead of Greenbrier, TN won first place, Barefoot Nellie won second, McGill & Company took third, and Last Chance received fourth. Rob Pearcy of Smyrna, TN won both the guitar and mandolin contests. Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro, TN also captured second place in guitar while Glenn Craver of Winston Salem, NC earned third. Ashley Taylor of Antioch, TN and Caleb Bryant of Northport, AL, placed second and third in mandolin, respectively. Rebecca Weiler of Marietta, GA won first in banjo, while Daniel Rothwell of Smyrna, TN achieved second place and Christy Tankersley of Soddy-Daisy, TN won third.
The next 1890s Day Jamboree Old Time Fiddlers Convention will be Memorial Day weekend Saturday 2015 in Ringgold, GA For more information, visit www.CityOfRinggold.com, or www.1890sDay.com or Like the event on Facebook.