The most popular part of the 2011 Fiddle Contest seems to have been the Payson Old-Time Opry, which opened the festivities the evening of Sept. 23.
According to a report from the Payson Parks, Recreation and Tourism Department, about 750 people came out to the Payson High School Auditorium to hear performances by The Desert Sons, The HillBenders and Run Boy Run, a bluegrass band that featured Payson natives Bekah and Jen Sandoval.
The contest had 25 contestants, ranging in age from 9 to 97. Winners included:
• In the Championship Division, Michael Rolland, first; John Brewer, second; Joseph Turner, third; Katherine Messer, fourth; Peter Rolland, fifth; Brandie Schaan, sixth; and Will MacDonald, seventh
• In the Small Fry Division, Will MacDonald, first; Kathleen Crossley, second; and Maria McArthur, third
• In the Junior-Junior Division, Gloria Glidden, first
• In the Junior Division, Katherine Messer, first; Brandie Schaan, second; Joseph Turner, third; John Brewer, fourth; and Bix Glidden, fifth
• In the Young Adult Division, Michael Rolland, first; and Eden Rolland, second
• In the Adult Division, Laura Barry, first; Darwin Long, second; Bruce Wurst, third; and Kevin DeRusha, fourth
• In the Senior Division, Peter Rolland, first; Hugh Caldwell, second; Sue Elschlager, third; Kent Chamberlin, fourth; and Dennis Russell, fifth
• In Cross-Tuned Fiddling, Peter Rolland was first and Dennis Russell was second
• In Twin Fiddling, Michael Rolland and Peter Rolland were first
• In Fancy Fiddling, John Brewer was first
• In Trick Fiddling, Bruce Wurst was first
About 100 people attended the jam concert presented by the fiddlers and accompanists the evening of Saturday, Sept. 24 at the Payson Event Center. Attending the contest on Saturday were about 200 people and 300 were at the PEC for the championship competition on Sunday.
A great group of about a dozen volunteers helped the town present the event, with Bill and Irene Neal playing a major part, according to Deb Rose with the town parks department.
Helping the town present the events were The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society Majestic Rim Senior Community; McMahons RV; Chili’s; Payson Concrete & Materials; Payson Marketplace .com; Uptown Espresso; Scoops; Arizona Commission on the Arts; Art Works.arts.gov; Best Western Payson Inn; Tonto Silk Screening & Embroidery; Macky’s Grill; MoJoe’s Grill; Honeycutt Rodeo Inc.; Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce; KMOG; The Home Center; SJW Insurance Services, Sandy Wolf; Coldwell Banker, Sally Randall, Realtor.