2016 winners at Walnut Valley Festival

wvWinners were chosen over this past weekend at the 45th Annual Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, KS.

Over the years, their National Flat Pick Guitar Championship and their National Bluegrass Banjo Championship have come to be recognized as among the most prestigious competitions of their kind in the US. These are only two of the many instrumental contests held during the festival each year, with competitors coming from all across the country to try their hand at winning the Winfield trophy, plus cash prizes and professional grade instruments donated by top luthiers.

These are grueling affairs, with contestants competing in multiple rounds back-to-back. They must all be prepared to play several tunes if they remain in the running and rules are strictly enforced.

Over the past 45 years, a great many current bluegrass and acoustic music stars competed and took home trophies at Winfield. Past winners include Butch Baldassari, Ron Block, Mike Bub, Fred Carpenter, Tony Furtado, David Grier, Steve Kaufman, Alison Krauss, Andy Leftwich, Lynn Morris, Mark O’Connor, Kenny Smith, Mike Snider, Chris Thile, and Scott Vestal. That’s some pretty high cotton!

Complete list of winners follows:

2016 National Bluegrass Banjo Championship

  1. Mathew Davis – Murfreesboro, TN
  2. Steve Lewis – Jefferson, NC
  3. Eric Welty – Argyle, TX


2016 National Flat Pick Guitar Championship

  1. Steve Lewis – Jefferson, NC
  2. Jason Shaw – Lincoln, NE
  3. Eric Hardin – West Jefferson, NC


2016 National Mandolin Championship

  1. Jordan Ramsey – Boulder, CO
  2. Holten Doucette – Waller, TX
  3. Scott Pearson – Warren, PA


2016 International Finger Style Guitar Championship

  1. Jack Wilson – Elk Grove Village, IL
  2. Dan Bliss – Merriam, KS
  3. Chang Chung-Lin – Taipei City, Taiwan


2016 Walnut Valley Old Time Fiddle Championship

  1. Roger Netherton – St. Louis, MO
  2. Tyler Andal – Nashville, TN
  3. Kitty Amaral – Elk Creek, VA


2016 International Autoharp Championship

  1. Betty Scott – Dallas, TX
  2. Cindy Harris – Pittsburgh, PA
  3. Steve Luper – Andover, KS


2016 National Mountain Dulcimer Championship

  1. Mark Gilston – Cedar Park, TX
  2. Cassandra Damper – Houston, TX
  3. Wendy Songe – Tulsa, OK



2016 National Hammer Dulcimer Championship

  1. Iiace Mears – Saddlebrooke, MO
  2. Colin Beasley – Mobile, AL
  3. Scott Kirchner – St. Louis, MO


Congratulations all!

You can find more details about this year’s winners, and the instruments they won, on the Walnut Valley web site.

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About the Author

John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.