Fiddle Champion Carries On Family Tradition

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When Matthew Rolland, 17, of Mesa, was named 2004's Arizona championship fiddler, he carried on a family tradition. Matthew is the son of noted fiddle teacher Peter Rolland, who took top honors in the 34-year-old contest in 1996.

Right behind Matthew Rolland in the championship contest was his brother Michael, 18. Between the two Rolland boys, eight awards were presented. In addition to first place in the championship, Matthew won first place in the Junior Division, a second in the Twin Fiddle Division, shared with Michael, and a fifth in the Accompanist category. Michael's second place championship win was combined with a first place in the Young Adults Division, a first in the Cross-Tuned Fiddle contest, the second place shared with Matthew in the Twin Fiddle Division, a second in the Fancy Fiddle Division and a third for Accompanist.

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The Rolland family of Mesa won big at the 34th Annual Arizona State Championship Old-Time Fiddlers Contest. Accompanied by their father, Peter Rolland, the 1996 champion, Michael (left) and Matthew (right) won a total of eight awards. Matthew Rolland, 17, won the 2004 championship title.

"The turnout was a little smaller than it was last year, but Rumsey Park was so nice, with the grass," said Roy Sandoval, chairman of the 34th Annual Arizona State Championship Old-Time Fiddlers Contest. There were 46 fiddlers competing, assisted by 11 accompanists.

"People had a great time," Sandoval said. "I've had nothing but positive comments, particularly about the venue."

Also placing the championship contest this year were Andrew Donald, 12, of Mesa, in third place; David Kaemmer, 26, Sierra Vista, fourth place; and Michael Shu, 13, Mesa, fifth place.

The Small Fry Division, for youngsters 3 to 9, had a single winner, Andrea Good. Winners in the Junior-Junior Division, for those 10 to 12: Andrew Donald, first; Ben Sandoval, second; Ryan Muños, third; Tucker Kilbourne, fourth; and Rebecca Jones, fifth.

Placing in the Junior Division, for ages 13-17 were Matthew Rolland, first; Michael Shu, second; Andrew Gallardo, third; Alice Pitts, fourth; and Sabrina Doshier, fifth. Young Adult Division winners, ages 18 to 39, were Michael Rolland, first; Brian Wurst, second; David Kaemmer, third; and Rachael Crawford, fourth.

Lew Felton took first in the Adult Division, for those 40 to 64, followed by Frank Hughes in second; Sue Petersen, third; Paul Baker, fourth; and Dennis Russell, fifth. The Senior Division, for those 65 and older, was won by Sue Elsclager in first; Bob Crose, second; Mickey Long, third; Kent Chamberlin, fourth; and Blaine Cone, fifth.

The 2004 Old-Time Fiddlers Contest's four specialty competition winners were:

Cross-Tune Fiddles

  • Michael Rolland, first
  • Rachael Crawford, second
  • Andrew Donald, third

Twin Fiddles

  • David Kaemmer and Andrew Gallardo, first
  • Matthew Rolland and Michael Rolland, second
  • Bob Crose and David Shoup, third

Trick Fiddles

  • Sabrina Doshier, first
  • Mickey Long, second
  • Bob Calhoon, third

Fancy Fiddles

  • David Shoup, first
  • Michael Rolland, second
  • Andrew Donald, third.

Taking first place in the Accompanist category, which is based on the number of times an individual is on stage accompanying fiddlers, was Norm Long. He was followed by Eddie Rose, second; Michael Rolland, third; Jonathan Simmons, fourth; and Matthew Rolland, fifth.

The special awards went to Erma Crose, who was presented the Vertielee and JW Floyd Memorial Award, and Norm Long, who was given the Bill Shoup Memorial Award.

This year, the youngest competing fiddler was Andrea Good, 9, and the eldest in competition was Ruth Gilpin, 90.

"I want to thank all the people who gave us their support," Sandoval said. Among those he made special mention of were the Payson Parks and Recreation Department, the Old-Time Fiddlers, the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, Buckshot Dot for her free performance, and Bill and Irene Neal.

"We look forward to it next year and hope it will be better than ever," Sandoval said.

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