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“The Grand Master Fiddler Champion is crowned annually in Nashville.”
The 45th annual Grand Master Fiddler Championship crowned the nation’s leading three fiddlers for 2016 at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn. Labor Day weekend. The competitors competed for over $10,000 in prizes and an appearance on the Grand Ole Opry. The event is coordinated by the non-profit Grand Master Fiddler Championship Inc. which welcomes donations for its goals at grandmasterfiddler.com.

Grand Master Fiddler Champion Maddie Denton (third from left) of Murfreesboro, Tenn. receives her trophy, from left, GMFC Director Ed Carnes, Woody Paul of Riders in the Sky, GMFC Director Howard Harris and GMFC Host Randall Franks.Grand Master Fiddler Champion Maddie Denton (third from left) of Murfreesboro, Tenn. receives her trophy, from left, GMFC Director Ed Carnes, Woody Paul Chrisman of The Riders in the Sky, GMFC Director Howard Harris and GMFC Celebrity Host Randall Franks.

The Grand Master Champion for 2016 is Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro, Tenn.

The two-day 45th annual Grand Master Fiddler Championship is the nation’s premier championship event held at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, Tenn. on Sept. 3 and 4, 2016.

“We saw the greatest attendance of fiddling enthusiasts that we have seen in years,” said Howard Harris, GMFC President. “Fiddlers came from coast to coast exhibiting such an amazing level of skills that brought cheers from the audience and impressing scores from the judges.”

Grand Master Fiddler Champion Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro, Tenn. competes during the finals at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. (Photo: Randall Franks)

Grand Master Fiddler Champion Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro, Tenn. competes during the finals at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. (Photo: Randall Franks)

Denton took home $1,200 in cash, a $500 gift certificate courtesy of D’Addario, a Grand Master Fiddler plaque, and will appear on the Grand Ole Opry.

The Grand Master Fiddler Championship, Inc. is a Tennessee non-profit and a U.S. IRS 501(c)(3) charitable corporation, formed to educate about and perpetuate fiddling as an art form and cultural treasure.

Fiddlers competed for over $10,000 in prizes.

Competitors showed their talents amongst some of the leading performers in acoustic music including The Riders in the Sky, Kentucky Just Us, and the Main Stage Revolution and Explosion Square Dance teams.

 Director Howard Harris (right) presents the Dr. Perry F. Harris Award to fiddler Woody Paul (third from left) of the Riders in the Sky. From left, the riders are Joey, Ranger Doug and Too Slim. (Photo: Randall Franks)

Director Howard Harris (right) presents the Dr. Perry F. Harris Award to fiddler Woody Paul Chrisman (third from left) of the Riders in the Sky. From left, the riders are Joey, Ranger Doug and Too Slim. (Photo: Randall Franks)

In honor of its founder, the organization presented the Dr. Perry F. Harris Award to Woody Paul Chrisman of the Riders in the Sky for his work in support of the traditional art of fiddling. The Riders in the Sky are Grand Ole Opry, Disney and Western music stars. Visit http://ridersinthesky.com.

Actor/entertainer Randall Franks, “Officer Randy Goode” from TV’s “In the Heat of the Night,” served as celebrity host for the event (http://randallfranks.com) and was joined by co-hosts Grammy winner Jim Lauderdale, music journalist Craig Havighurst, from America’s Morning Show – three-time CMA Award winner Kelly Ford.

“It is great to see the growth in the number of fiddlers in the traditional and youth categories,” Franks said. “The amazing prowess, attention to detail, and variety of styles exhibited by these fiddlers reflects the rich history of the instrument.”

Other organizers include Grand Master Fiddler Championship Executive Vice-President Ed Carnes, directors Lisa LaFortune, Trey McClain, Crystal Plohman, Gayla Tanaka-Bollinger, Charlie Smith, and Bobby Taylor.

“We could not make this contest the success it is without the judges and all of volunteers who work each year to help us set the stage so the contest can run smoothly,” Carnes said. “We also have the tremendous support of the staff from the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.”

Contest judges were Matt Hartz, Daniel Carwile, Aynsley Porchak, Amy Carwile, and Bobby Taylor.

Among the sponsors were Fletcher Bright Company, Metro Nashville Arts Commission, Purity Foundation, Ezell Foundation, D’Addario, Goo Goo Cluster, Tennessee Arts Commission, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, and Lockstep Technology.

Directors Ed Carnes (left) and Howard Harris (right) present awards to the Grand Master Fiddler Championship top ten winners, from left, Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Trustin Baker of Birch Tree, Mo., Katrina Nicolayeff of Meridian, Idaho, Ellie Goodman of Brooklyn, New York, Mia Orosco of Lorena, Texas, Andrew Lin of Lexington, Ky., River Lee of The Woodlands, Texas, Harrison Schumann of San Antonio, Texas, Eli Bishop of Nashville, Tenn., and (not pictured) Billy Contreras of Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: Randall Franks)

Directors Ed Carnes (left) and Howard Harris (right) present awards to the Grand Master Fiddler Championship top ten winners, from left, Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Trustin Baker of Birchtree, Mo., Katrina Nicolayeff of Meridian, Idaho, Ellie Goodman of Brooklyn, New York, Mia Orosco of Lorena, Texas, Andrew Lin of Lexington, Ky., River Lee of The Woodlands, Texas, Harrison Schumann of San Antonio, Texas, Eli Bishop of Nashville, Tenn., and (not pictured) Billy Contreras of Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: Randall Franks)

The other top winners included in descending order: Trustin Baker of Birchtree, Mo., Katrina Nicolayeff of Meridian, Idaho, Ellie Goodman of Brooklyn, New York, Mia Orosco of Lorena, Texas, Andrew Lin of Lexington, Ky., River Lee of The Woodlands, Texas, Harrison Schumann of San Antonio, Texas, Eli Bishop of Nashville, Tenn., and Billy Contreras of Nashville, Tenn.

Fiddler Eli Bishop (second from left) receives the Charlie Bush Traditional Fiddler Performance Award from Ed Carnes (left), and Woody Paul Chrisman (second from right) and Howard Harris (right). (Photo: Randall Franks)

Eli Bishop of Nashville, Tenn. received the Charlie Bush Traditional Fiddler Performance Award from the GMFC presented in honor of late director Charlie Bush.

The Grand Master Traditional Champion is Brian Christianson of Nashville, Tenn. who won $300.  Other winners in descending order are Henry Barnes of Columbus, Ohio, Kelsey Wells of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Henry The Fiddler of Arvada, Co., Hillary Klug of Shelbyville, Tenn., Travis Inman of Belmont, Miss., Chris Gray of Smyrna, Tenn., and Clelia Stefanini of Nashville, Tenn.

 

Directors Ed Carnes (left) and Howard Harris (second from right) award Grand Master Traditional Fiddler Championship winners, from left, Brian Christianson of Nashville, Tenn., Henry Barnes of Columbus, Ohio, Kelsey Wells of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Henry The Fiddler of Arvada, Co., Hillary Klug of Shelbyville, Tenn., Travis Inman of Belmont, Miss., Chris Gray of Smyrna, Tenn., and (not pictured) Clelia Stefanini of Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: Randall Franks)

Directors Ed Carnes (left) and Howard Harris (second from right) award Grand Master Traditional Fiddler Championship winners, from left, Brian Christianson of Nashville, Tenn., Henry Barnes of Columbus, Ohio, Kelsey Wells of Murfreesboro, Tenn., Henry The Fiddler of Arvada, Co., Hillary Klug of Shelbyville, Tenn., Travis Inman of Belmont, Miss., Chris Gray of Smyrna, Tenn., and (not pictured) Clelia Stefanini of Nashville, Tenn. (Photo: Randall Franks)

The Grand Master Youth Champion is Ivy Phillips of Chapmansboro, Tenn., She won $300, a $500 gift certificate courtesy of D’Addario, a Grand Master Fiddler plaque, and will appear on the Grand Ole Opry. Other winners in descending order are Benjamin Lin of Lexington, Ky., Celeste Pena of Palo Cedro, Calif., Alex Tormala of Sequim, Wash., Mary Lynn Keller of Nampa, Idaho, Beth Davis of Carbondale, Ill., Sophie Pena of Palo Cedro, Calif., David Lin of Lexington, Ky., Kate Ward of Kuttawa, Ky., and David Tormala of Sequim, Wash.

Directors Ed Carnes (left), and Howard Harris (right) and GMFC co-host Kelly Ford (second from left) award the Grand Master Youth Fiddler Championship winners, from left, Ivy Phillips of Chapmansboro, Tenn., Benjamin Lin of Lexington, Ky., Celeste Pena of Palo Cedro, Calif., Alex Tormala of Sequim, Wash., Mary Lynn Keller of Nampa, Idaho, Beth Davis of Carbondale, Ill., Sophie Pena of Palo Cedro, Calif., David Lin of Lexington, Ky., Kate Ward of Kuttawa, Ky., and David Tormala of Sequim, Wash. (Photo: Randall Franks)

Winning guitar accompanists are Anthony Mature of New Waverly, Texas, Hyatt Hopkins of Porter, Texas, Jim Reina of Conroe, Texas. Ray Brandin of Oakdale, La., Ronnie McKee of Kennedy, Ala. Mature, who took first, won $200 and a certificate.

Directors Ed Carnes (left) and Howard Harris (right) present awards to accompanist winners, from left, Anthony Mature of New Waverly, Texas, Hyatt Hopkins of Porter, Texas, Ray Brandin of Oakdale, La., Ronnie McKee of Kennedy, Ala. and (not pictured) Jim Reina of The Woodlands, Texas. (Photo: Randall Franks)

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