2023 Grayson County Old Time & Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention results

Bryan Osborne & the Ashe Mountain Boys at Grayson County 2023 – photo © G. Nicholas Hancock

The 2023 Grayson County Old Time & Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention was held this past weekend in Elk Creek, VA. Located in the southwestern part of the Old Dominion state, the annual music competition benefits the Elk Creek Fire Department.

“It’s our biggest fund raiser,” shared Elk Creek Fire Chief, Brian Billings.

“The rain on Friday really hurt us. Our spectator count was down by about 30-40 percent, but it did clear up on Saturday. We had a good crowd and a great show that night. We had 18 bands which is about normal for us and a lot of individual competition. The participation by the musicians was really, really good. Their count was off by no more than 10 percent. We really appreciated it because they’re the ones that make the show. That’s what made it successful for us.

Dale and Connie Morris are our event managers. They live here and travel around to work a lot of conventions, but this is their home convention. Dale served as our MC. Connie registered bands and got everybody ready. They really do a good job for us.”

Dale shared a little history of the event.

“The Grayson County Old Time & Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention started in 1967 in Independence, Virginia. Wilton Dolinger of the VFW and Bud Watson of the New River Wildlife Club were old time and bluegrass music fans, and they decided to add another convention in the area. The Old Fiddlers’ Convention in Galax was going big time due to the folk music boom of the 1960s, and the Grayson County convention took right off. The two clubs ran it together until 1988 in Independence, and then they decided to step back from their sponsorship due to declining club memberships and trouble getting the high school athletic field as a convention site. The Elk Creek Volunteer Fire Department believed they had the right outdoor venue to have a fiddlers’ convention so they decided to take over sponsorship. They have been running the convention ever since in nearby Elk Creek.”

The event has become a favorite for musicians and fans alike that travel many miles from numerous states to compete and attend. It returns next year, June 28-29, 2024.

The 2023 winners were:


  1. Lois Hornbostel, Bryson City, NC
  2. Dick Lamb, Keezletown, VA
  3. Diane Parker, Galax, VA
  4. Ehukai Teves, Bryson City, NC
  5. Tom Gerni, Cambridge, MD


  1. Patricia Kilby, Mouth of Wilson, VA
  2. Virgil Adams, Galax, VA

Old Time Banjo

  1. Trish Fore, Galax, VA
  2. Logan Thompson, Glade Spring, VA
  3. Robbie Herman, Taylorsville, NC
  4. Marsha Todd, Mt. Airy, NC
  5. Debbie Yates, Konnarock, VA

Bluegrass Fiddle

  1. Lucas Pasley, Sparta, NC
  2. Kamron Nunn, Westfield, NC
  3. Laura Ellis Maxfield, Bedford, VA
  4. Dewey Long, Rural Retreat, VA
  5. Butch Barker, Lansing, NC

Flat Foot Dance

  1. Angela Wall, Jacksonville, FL
  2. Angela Hale, Elk Creek, VA 
  3. Stacy Boyd, Laurel Fork, VA
  4. Leslie Smith, Johnson City, TN

Folk Song

  1. Karlie Keepfer, Sparta, NC
  2. Meredith Wilkerson, Lowgap, NC
  3. Robbie Herman, Taylorsville, NC
  4. Randy Sheets, Vilas, NC
  5. Jared Boyd, Galax, VA


  1. N.R. Taylor, Wytheville, VA
  2. Roy Bourne, Clemmons, NC

Bass Fiddle

  1. Sadie Yates, Damascus, VA
  2. Stacy Boyd, Laurel Fork, VA
  3. Daniel Pruitt, Bedford, VA
  4. Loyd Richardson, Warrensville, NC
  5. Barbara Bowman, Mt. Airy, NC


  1. Ricky Ellis, Bedford, VA
  2. Tom Mindte, Rockville, MD
  3. Brad Bartley, Galax, VA
  4. Jaelyn Taylor, Wytheville, VA
  5. Molly Yates, Damascus, VA

Bluegrass Banjo

  1. Berkley Stewart, Saltville, VA
  2. Travis Branch, Galax, VA
  3. Bobby Pillow, Beford, VA
  4. Jack Circle, Galax, VA
  5. River Smith, Johnson City, TN

Old Time Fiddle

  1. Raistlin Brabson, Callaway, VA
  2. Andrew Walker, Chapel Hill, NC
  3. Garret Wyatt, Independence, VA
  4. Richard Bowman, Mt. Airy, NC 
  5. Deb Shebish, Winston-Salem, NC

Youth Guitar

  1. Maggie Wilkerson, Lowgap, NC
  2. Elijah Smith, Mt. Airy, NC
  3. Finley Rosser, Greensboro, NC
  4. Brayden Ramey, Galax, VA

Youth Bands

  1. Denim & Plaid, Snowville, VA
  2. Carolina Cowboys & Maggie, Lowgap, NC
  3. The Participants, Pinnacle, NC
  4. Roan Street Ramblers, Johnson City, TN

Youth Fiddle

  1. Hollace Oakes, Snowville, VA
  2. River Smith, Johnson City, TN
  3. Sam Wilkerson, Lowgap, NC
  4. Silas Wilkerson, Lowgap, NC
  5. Lucy Smith, Johnson City, NC

Youth Banjo

  1. Berkley Stewart, Saltville, VA
  2. Josiah Wilkerson, Lowgap, NC
  3. Margo MacSweeny, Floyd, VA
  4. Malachi Bulman, Pinnacle, NC
  5. Silas Lowe, State Road, NC

Youth Dance

  1. Margo MacSweeny, Floyd, VA
  2. Ella Grim, Elk Creek, VA
  3. Candace Noah, Dobson, NC
  4. Avery Lowe, Mountain Park, NC
  5. Nuni MacSweeny, Floyd, VA

Youth Miscellaneous

  1. Candice Noah, Dobson, NC (dobro)
  2. Jaelyn Taylor, Wytheville, VA (mandolin)
  3. Jace Roberts, Galax, VA (mandolin)

Youth Scholarships

  • Avery Lowe, Mountain Park, NC
  • Silas Lowe, State Road, NC
  • Lucy Smith, Johnson City, TN
  • Candice Noah, Dobson, NC


  1. Cody McGrady, Galax, VA
  2. Gavin Woodruff, Ennice, NC
  3. Wayne Dye, Cleveland, VA
  4. Steve Kilby, Mouth of Wilson, VA
  5. Donnie Pratter, Wytheville, VA

Old Time Band

  1. Floyd County Ridgerunners, Willis, VA
  2. Gap Wild, Galax, VA
  3. Slate Mountain Ramblers, Mt. Airy, NC
  4. The New Critter Connection, Damascus, VA
  5. View Shed String Band, Beckley, WV

Bluegrass Band

  1. Bryan Osborne & The Ashe Mountain Boys, Boone, NC
  2. Town & Country, Rural Retreat, VA
  3. New River Line, Woodlawn, VA
  4. Common Ground, Bedford, VA
  5. Hard Times, Wytheville, VA

Flat Foot Dance

  1. Brett Morris, Galax, VA
  2. Barbara Bowman, Mt. Airy, NC
  3. Marsha Todd, Mt. Airy, NC
  4. Angela Hale, Elk Creek, VA
  5. Stacy Boyd, Laurel Fork, VA

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About the Author

Sandy Hatley

Sandy Chrisco Hatley is a free lance writer for several NC newspapers and Bluegrass Unlimited magazine. As a teenager, she picked banjo with an all girl band called the Happy Hollow String Band. Today, she plays dobro with her husband's band, the Hatley Family.