Great Contestant Turnout For Fiddlers Fest

500 turnout to hear fiddlers, Michael Rolland continues family’s championship tradition by Teresa McQuerrey roundup staff reporter The 40th Old Time Fiddlers Festival had almost 40 contestants, a

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Dennis Fendler/Roundup

Buck Ryberg, left, and Slim Tighe, members of the quartet known as The Desert Sons, provide ample entertainment between fiddling contests. The Desert Sons, from Tucson, also provided entertainment Friday evening at the Payson High School Auditorium.

The 40th Old Time Fiddlers Festival had almost 40 contestants, according to co-chairman Bill Neal.

“That’s a big improvement over what we’ve had in recent years,” Neal said.

There were about 500 people who came out for the two-day event, which opened with a special concert of bluegrass music by the band Providence and country music by The Desert Sons on Friday night.

Taking the championship honors this year was Michael Rolland, who won the Young Adult division and the Cross-Tune division.

His championship continues a family tradition — both his father, Peter Rolland, and his brother, Matthew Rolland, are past champions — and his sister Eden is following the family path. Peter won first place in the Adult division at the 2010 contest and Eden won the Trick Fiddling division.

Neal said if there was a people’s choice contestant is was Joseph Turner, 12, of Tucson. He was probably the most popular performer at the Sept. 25-26 event and won first place in the Junior Junior division.

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Dennis Fendler/Roundup

Lauren Jones, of Sierra Vista, smiles as the audience gives her some resounding applause in the cross-tune competition at the recent Old Time Fiddlers Festival conducted at Payson Event Center.

Other first-place winners were Will MacDonald, Small Fry; Katherine Messer, Junior; Hugh Caldwell, Senior; John Brewer, Fancy Fiddling; and Lauren Jones and Sam Jones, Twin Fiddling.

Taking other honors in the championship division were Joshua Galyon, second; Katherine Messer, third; Joseph Turner, fourth; Lauren Jones, fifth; Brandie Schaan, sixth; and Hans Bhalla, seventh.

Also placing in the Small Fry division were Jadee Merayo, second; Kathleen Crossley, third; Maria McArthur, fourth; and Colton Cortese, fifth. Placing in the Junior Junior division were Annais Bhalla, second; Brandie Schaan, third; John “Bix” Glidden, fourth; and Braman Merayo, fifth.

Taking honors in the Junior division were Lauren Jones, second; Hans Bhalla, third; Sam Jones, fourth; and John Brewer, fifth. Awards in the Young Adult division went to Joshua Galyon, second; Corrine Garey, third; Marra DeGraff, fourth; and Eden Rolland, fifth.

Adult division winners were David Shoup, second; Laura Barry, third; and Bruce Wurst, fourth. Senior division awards went to Sue Elsclager, second; Kent Chamberlin, third; Dennis Russell, fourth; and Ruth Gilpin, fifth.

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Dennis Fendler/Roundup

Arvid Thompson, foreground, a local fiddle maker from Strawberry, works on a new fiddle as his friend Mark Holmsley provides comment on the process of fiddle making.

Other winners included Lauren Jones, second, Cross-Tune, and Dennis Russell, third, Cross-Tune; and Annais Bhalla and Hans Bhalla, Twin Fiddling.

Neal said he wanted to thank his co-chairman Nelson Beck and the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department for all the effort to make the 40th Anniversary Vertilee Floyd Old Time Fiddlin’ Arizona State Championships a success. He added everyone appreciated the great participation by sponsors and vendors in this year’s event.

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