And the winner of the 30th Old Time Fiddlers' Contest is ... 23-year-old Jesse Stockman of Buckeye.
The new Arizona State Grand Champion fiddler, who is already a two-time New Mexico State Champion fiddler, hails from Deming, N.M. He and his family wife Amanda and their 1-year-old daughter, Hannah moved to Buckeye in March, making him eligible to compete in the Arizona contest.
Stockman has been fascinated by the fiddle since the age of 2, when he'd walk around with two sticks and imitate other fiddlers at jam sessions. At the age of 3, he discovered a case containing his great uncle's fiddle under his parents' bed and was scolded when he touched it.
Not long after his 8th birthday, he asked if he could finally get lessons on that fiddle. Although it was full size and too large for him, Stockman's mother gave it to him, along with a color-coded Buddy System book and cassette. With those tools, he taught himself to play ... and was entering contests within a year.
While Stockman never had formal lessons, he's had plenty of teachers. Other fiddlers taught him new tunes during contests and festivals.
By age 17, Stockman knew he wanted to make a living as a fiddle player, and he went on to attend Mark O'Connor's Music Camp in Nashville, Tenn. six times to improve his skills.
Since May of 1999, he has been working as a musician with Patti Bell and the Arizona Jamboree in Prescott and Laughlin, Nev. In addition to lending his fiddle-playing to the band, Stockman also plays mandolin, guitar, drums, and performs back-up vocals.
The other winners for the 30th Annual Old Time Fiddlers' Contest are:
First, Jesse Stockman, 23, Buckeye; second, Jess Barry, 21, Douglas; third, Tamara Whetten, 21, Mesa; fourth, Michael Rolland, 14, Mesa; fifth, Patrick Clark, 16, Flagstaff.
Small Fry division (ages 3-9)
First, Emily Nebel, Mesa; second, Andrew Donald, Mesa; third, Elise Carrington, Tucson; fourth, Sarah Hunt, Gilbert.
Junior-Junior division (ages 10-12)
First, Lynn Anderson, Mesa; second, Flynn Soper, Tucson; third, Andrew Gallardo, Tucson; fourth, Danielle Regan, Phoenix; fifth, Sabrina Doshier, Safford.
Junior division (ages 13-18)
First, Patrick Clark, Flagstaff; second, Matthew Rolland, Mesa; third, Jonathan Lawson, Safford; fourth, Michael Rolland, Mesa; fifth, Ellen Tollefson, Mesa.
Young adult division (ages 19-39)
First, Jesse Stockman, Buckeye; second, Jess Barry, Douglas; third, Tamara Whetten, Mesa; fourth, Hayden Boyett, Chandler.
Adult division (ages 40-64)
First, Laurel Dunlap, Scottsdale; second, Laura Barry, Tucson; third, Wayne Black, Phoenix; fourth, Sue Petersen, Thatcher; fifth, Dennis Russell, Yuma.
Senior division (ages 65-up)
First, Mickey Long, Tempe; second, John Alley, Buckeye; third, Sue Elsclager, Tucson; fourth, Frank Smith, Tucson; fifth, Bob Crose, Pine.
Trick Fiddling division
First, Danielle Regan, Phoenix; second, Katie Hunt, Gilbert; third, Sarah Hunt, Gilbert.
Fancy fiddling division
First, Michael Rolland, Mesa; second, Jess Barry, Douglas; third, Patrick Clark, Flagstaff.
Cross-tuned fiddle division
First, Patrick Clark, Flagstaff; second, Michael Rolland, Mesa; third, Sue Petersen, Thatcher.
Twin fiddling division
First, Michael Rolland and Eden Rolland, Mesa; second, David Shoup and Susan Jacobs, Mesa; third, Diana Polanski, Phoenix and Laurel Dunlap, Scottsdale.
First, Eddie Rose, Litchfield Park; second, Bill Shoup, Phoenix; third, Norm Long, Tempe; fourth, Jonathan Lawson, Safford; fifth, Dennis Russell, Yuma.
Jack Darland, Salome, Ariz.; Hugh Caldwell, Fountain Hills, Ariz. David Anderson, Silver City, N.M.