King Of Strings

18-year-old is state's top fiddler

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Fiddlers from 17 towns and cities across Arizona participated in last weekend's 32nd Annual Old Time Fiddlers' Contest. But the hands-down standout fiddler was 18-year-old Patrick Clark, a six-time competitor who walked away with his first Arizona State Championship.

"The thing about Patrick Clark is that he's just a hard, hard worker," said Roy Sandoval, who organized this year's event in place of the late Vertielee Floyd. "He was also one of the top accompanists this year, and he accompanied the very people he was competing against in his own division. He's an outstanding guitar accompanist, too, and just an outstanding young man."

In addition to the contest's top prize and his fourth-place win as an accompanist, Clark, a music major at Northern Arizona University, racked up second-place honors in the Young Adults division.

Overall, this year's fiddle fest "was just wonderful," said event co-coordinator Sandra Shoup, who has worked on the festival since 1990. "It was better than ever. It was very well run, everyone was cooperative, the sunshine cooperated, and the attendance was good."

Official box-office numbers have yet to be tabulated, but Sandoval estimates that 500 showed up Saturday, and 400 on Sunday but Shoup thinks those are "conservative guesses."

"We scheduled a one-hour show for Saturday night, but it went on for two hours because nobody would leave," he said. "Everybody stayed until the last minute."

Proceeds from that concert by Arizona Fiddlers and musicians went to the Elementary Schools Strings Program in Payson.

Fiddlers' results:

Grand Championship Division

First: Patrick Clark, 18, Flagstaff; second: Brian Wurst, 35, Tonopah; third: Marra DeGraff, 13, Flagstaff; fourth: Emily Nebel, 11, Mesa; fifth: Michael Rolland, 16, Mesa.

Junior-Juniors (ages 3-12)

First: Emily Nebel, Mesa; second: Andrew Donald, Mesa; third: Danielle Regan, Ahwatukee; fourth: Ben Sandoval, Payson; fifth: Kaitlin Hill, Buckeye.

Junior Division (ages 13-18)

First: Michael Rolland, Mesa; second: Marra DeGraff, Flagstaff; third: Michael Rolland, Mesa; fourth: Clarissa Clark, Flagstaff; fifth: Lynn Anderson, Mesa.

Young Adult Division (18-39)

First: Brian Wurst, Tonopah; second: Patrick Clark, Flagstaff; third: Vanessa Miller, Flagstaff; fourth: Eden Rolland, Mesa; Fifth: Tim Wall. Yuma.

Adult Division (ages 40-64)

First: Laura Barry, Tucson; second: Sue Petersen, Thatcher; third: Ed Spurgeon, Douglas; fourth: Ross Rigs, Tucson; fifth: Paul Baker, Mesa.

Senior Division (ages 65-up)

First: LeRoy Sims, Chino Valley; second: Bob Crose, Pine; third: Dorothy Cory, Cottonwood; fourth: Blaine Cone, Dewey; fifth: Sue Elsciager, Tucson

Cross-Tuned Fiddle Division

First: Matthew Rolland, Mesa; second: Emily Nebel, Mesa; third: Brian Wurst, Tonopah.

Twin Fiddle Division

First: Michael Rolland and Matthew Rolland; second: Eden Rolland and Peter Rolland; third: Lynn Anderson and Emily Nebel.

Trick Fiddle Division

First: Sabrina Doshier, Safford; second: Brian Wurst, Tonapah; third: Danielle Regan, Ahwatukee.

Fancy Fiddling Division

First: Emily Nebel, Mesa; second: Matthew Rolland, Mesa; third: Laura Berry, Tucson.

Accompanist (based on number of times on stage accompanying fiddlers)

First: Eddie Rose, Buckeye; second: Norm Long, Pinetop; third: Peter Rolland, Mesa; fourth: Patrick Clark, Flagstaff; fifth: Linda Darland, Salome.

Youngest Competing Fiddler

Kaitlin Hill, 9, Buckeye.

Eldest Competing Fiddler

Frank Smith, 87, Tucson.

Audience Favorite Fiddler Award

Saturday: Danielle Regan, Ahwatukee; Sunday: Andrew Gallardo, Tucson.

J.W. & Vertielee Floyd Memorial Award

Dorothy Wagner, Payson.

Bill Shoup Memorial Award

Emily Nebel, Mesa.

Contest Judges

Jack Darland, Salome; Mickey Long, Pinetop; John Kennedy, Dewey.

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