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Katrina Nicolayeff Crowned Grand Master Fiddler Champion

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Grand Master Fiddler Katrina NicolayeffGrand Master Fiddler Championship crowns the 2014 master. The Grand Master Champion for 2014 is Katrina Nicolayeff of Boise, Idaho. Nicolayeff joins Mark O'Connor, Matthew Hartz, and Danita Rast Gardner as three-time champions. Jesse Maw of Kalispell, Montana placed second. Nicolayeff took home $1,200 in cash, a Grand Master Fiddler plaque, and will appear on the Grand Ole Opry. Maw received $1,100 and a plaque.

The two-day 43rd annual Grand Master Fiddler Championship is the nation’s championship event held at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn. on Sept. 27 and 28, 2014.

“What an amazing group of fiddlers from around the country that gave their best efforts to compete for the various titles we awarded this year,” said Howard Harris, GMFC president. “We had even a larger group of attendees this year who cheered on the competitors as they continue the legacy of fiddling in this historic contest.”

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 compete for over $10,000 in prizes.

Competitors showed their talents amongst some of the leading performers in acoustic music including the Grascals, Texas Lace, and Crystal Plohman’s Fiddle Frenzy Youth Fiddlers. In honor of its founder, the organization presented the Dr. Perry F. Harris Award to Charlie Daniels for his work in support of the traditional art of fiddling. “The traditional category showed great strides of this year as did the youth category,” Franks said. “The future of fiddling certainly looks bright based on the talents I have seen in this competition.”

The other top-10 winners included in descending order: Jesse Maw of Kalispell, Montana, Justin Branum of Nashville, Tennessee, Luke Price of Portland, Oregon; Eli Bishop of Nashville, Tennessee, Aynsley Porchak of Ontario, Canada; Harrison Schumann of San Antonio, Texas; Aarun Carter of Portland, Oregon; Doug Fleener of Leitchfield, Kentucky; Tyler Andal of Nashville, Tennessee;

Contestants placing 11 through 20 are Katie Crawford of Burleson, Texas; Billy Contreras of Nashville, Tennessee; Jacob Johnson of Lincoln, Alabama; Tallon Sandoval of Janesville, California; Aria Stiles of Apple Valley, Minnesota; Carl Hopkins of Porter, Texas; Faith Nugent of Burleson, Texas; Samantha Cunningham of Versailles, Kentucky; Katherine Messer of Nashville, Tennessee

Carl Hopkins 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 Megan Lynch Chowning of Goodlettsville, Tennessee who won $300. Other winners in descending order are Rachel Baiman of Tennessee; Shannon Hunt of Texas; Mikaela Langley of Tennessee; Deena Bistodeau of Tennessee; Saralyn Miller of Kentucky; and Leo Hickman of Indiana.

The Grand Master Youth Champion is Matthew Lin of Lexington, Kentucky. He won $300 and a plaque. Other winners in descending order are River Lee of Texas; Ivy Phillips of Tennessee; Benjamin Lin of Kentucky; Cara DiGiovanni of Tennessee; Noelle Nugent of Texas; Allie Hagan of Kentucky, Beth Davis of Illinois, Jessica Sell of Texas; and Antonio Dodson of Tennessee.

Winning guitar accompanists are Anthony Mature of Huntsville, Texas; Hyatt Hopkins of Texas; Paul Kramer of Tennessee; Jonathan Trawick of Oregon; Jim Reina of Texas. Mature, who took first, won $200 and a certificate.

Actor/entertainer Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” and Marcia Campbell of WSM served as celebrity co- hosts for the event. Other organizers include Grand Master Fiddler Championship vice president Ed Carnes, directors Lisa LaFortune, Crystal Plohman, Gayla Tanaka-Bollinger, Alva T. "Trey" McClain, Charlie Smith, and Bobby Taylor. Contest judges were Brian Christianson, Laura Waters, Mark Ralph, Bob Forrester and Bobby Taylor.

Among the sponsors were Fletcher Bright Company, 66 West Productions, 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 Museum, and Lockstep Technology.

For more information, visit www.grandmasterfiddler.com.

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