2023 Yadkin Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddler’s Convention winners

High Strung compete in the 2023 Yadkin Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddler’s Convention

The Yadkin Bluegrass and Old Time Fiddler’s Convention talent contest returned to Yadkinville Elementary School in western North Carolina this past Saturday.

“We started the fiddlers’ convention back this year. Due to COVID, we’ve not had it for the past three years,” shared co-promoter Blaine Wagoner, who serves as the Appalachian JAM instructor with the Yadkin Arts Council.

“Another gentlemen, Steven Corn, and I went to work on it. Tim Harrison looked after our sound. Dale Morris was emcee. I’m real youth-based, and we made a few changes to make it more youth friendly. We had youth to come as far away as a town called Lester near Asheville! We also had 11 bands (in the senior division). We had over 350 in attendance.”

Coyote Ugly (Beverly and Tom Horton, Joey Cox, and Vince Bullins) served as judges, and entertained during intermission. During competition, the judges were sequestered in a room where they could hear, but not see the contestants as they performed.

“The contestants were only known by number,” Wagoner explained. “With blind judging, I thought that was the fairest way that I could do it. It was received very well and we are already planning for next year’s event.”

Winners for this year’s competition were:


Old-time Fiddle

  1. John Hofmann
  2. Mecca Lowe
  3. Adam Lowe

Bluegrass Fiddle

  1. John Hofmann
  2. Charlie Tolbert
  3. Sophia Pyles

Old-time Banjo

  1. Hank Davis

Bluegrass Banjo

  1. Frankie Key
  2. Travis Watts
  3. Mike Souther


  1. Tommy Chandler
  2. Ethan Wagoner
  3. Elijah Bulman


  1. Randy Willard
  2. Cody Bowman
  3. Ezra Williams


  1. Jonathan Meltone
  2. Titus Stroud
  3. John Powell

Bass Fiddle

  1. Timothy Williams
  2. Navaeh Coffey
  3. Brad Wood


  1. Dawn Myers
  2. Jay Williams
  3. Landin Baldwin

Senior Bluegrass Band

  1. Outlaw Bluegrass
  2. Hazy Ridge Bluegrass Band
  3. Mountain Blessings

Senior Old-time Band

  1. Carolina Cowboys & Maggie
  2. Mountain Park Mountain Lions


Old-time Fiddle

  1. Sylvie Davis
  2. Samuel Wilkerson
  3. Avery Lowe

Bluegrass Fiddle

  1. Sylvie Davis
  2. Silas Wilkerson
  3. Mallory Haithcox

Old-time Banjo

  1. Bayla Davis
  2. Jo Wilkerson
  3. Silas Lowe

Bluegrass Banjo

  1. Jo Wilkerson
  2. Malachi Bulman


  1. Malachi  Bulman
  2. Judah Davis
  3. Elijah Smith


  1. Emmalyn Rogers
  2. Emme Davis
  3. Emma Shore

Bass Fiddle

  1. Avery Lowe


  1. Bayla Davis
  2. Elise Rogers
  3. Maggie Wilkerson

Youth Band

  1. New Found Gap
  2. High Strungg
  3. Mini Musicians

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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.