Organizers at the 1890s Day Jamboree Old Time Fiddlers Convention welcomed more than a hundred contestants including fiddlers, guitarists, mandolinists, bands and cloggers from states across the south to Ringgold, Ga., on May 25.
Fiddlers and dancers struck a chord with audiences as they cheered dozens of musicians on to victory to win nearly $7,000 in prize money at the historic Catoosa County Courthouse.
Among them was Lynchburg native Ashley Crook, who competed and placed third in the 22-50-age division of the fiddle contest, earning $100 for her effort.
“We grow more and more every year with even a greater number of youth contestants wanting to advance on their instruments,” said contest organizer Lewis Taylor. “Our volunteers work tirelessly to make this event something everyone can enjoy. Without them, our high caliber judges, and our sponsors, we would not do this successful an event.”
Taylor is a champion harmonica player winning titles in several states and numerous contests.
Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro won the Randall Franks Trophy at the 1890s Day Jamboree. Denton also won the 16-21-age category for the chance to compete for the trophy.
In the fiddle off, she faced Aerin DeJarnette of Birmingham, Ala.. from 22-50-age category, who placed second, and her mother Marcia Denton of Murfreesboro, winner of the 51-and-up category, who placed third.
The top prize is named in honor of Appalachian Ambassador of the Fiddle Randall Franks — Officer Randy Goode — from the hit television series “In the Heat of the Night.” He cheered the top three competitors on in their bid to win the Randall Franks Trophy and the $500 prize. He presented the winners on the main stage with Taylor and emcee Kevin Mudd.
“I am amazed each year at the tremendous talents of all ages that I see on the stage sharing Appalachian fiddle and dance traditions,” said Franks. “We are blessed the 1890s Day Jamboree committee feels that its event is an appropriate place to keep the tradition of the fiddle contests thriving and growing each year right on the Catoosa County courthouse lawn.”