55th Grayson County Old-time and Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention report

Common Ground, 1st Place Bluegrass Band at the 2024 Grayson
County Fiddlers’ Convention – photo © G Nicholas Hancock

Counting both adult and youth contestants, approximately 200 acoustic instrument pickers, folksong singers, and flatfoot dancers from as far away as Georgia and Maryland descended on the tiny community of Elk Creek, VA (pop. 478) on Friday and Saturday to participate in the 55th Grayson County Old-time and Bluegrass Fiddlers’ Convention, which is sponsored by the Elk Creek Volunteer Fire Department. 

The annual event, held the last full weekend in June, is the primary fundraiser for the Elk Creek VFD, which saw one of the largest turnouts, in both contestants and spectators, in recent years. Next year the dates will be June 27-28, 2025.

According to Connie Morris, co-manager of the event along with her husband, Dale, who also serves as MC along with Alan Graham, “There were seven adult bluegrass bands and 16 old-time bands that competed. The Friday night open dance had approximately 15 contestants and the Saturday night dance had 20 contestants. There were 36 individual contestants in the youth categories and seven youth bands and 20 youth dancers.”

Separate prizes on both Friday and Saturday nights were awarded for the flatfoot dance competitions. 

In addition to the usual individual instrument, band, folksong, and dance awards, a new award was begun this year titled The Legends of Grayson Heritage Award. It is presented to, “A performing musician in the individual competitions, whose technique, approach and spirit best exemplifies and captures Grayson County’s truly unique old-time sound and tradition.”  The inaugural award for 2024 went to Trish Fore of Galax, VA. The award was created by Mark Boyles and Steve Soltis of Peach Bottom Partners.

In the youth division, four Don Wilson Memorial Youth Scholarships valued at $250 each were awarded to four youngsters to use toward music lessons and/or traditional music camps.

Winners in both the youth and the open (adult) categories were announced Saturday evening. They were:

Youth Guitar

  1. Brayden Ramey – Galax, VA
  2. Elijah Smith – Mt. Airy, NC
  3. Maggie Wilkerson – Lowgap, NC
  4. Corbin Walls – Vale, NC
  5. Tucker Conner – Fleetwood, NC 

Youth Fiddle

  1. Madalyn Jarrett – Tazewell, VA
  2. Silas Wilkerson – Lowgap, NC
  3. Sam Wilkerson – Lowgap, NC
  4. Molly Wilkerson – Lowgap, NC
  5. Israel Wright – Connely Springs, NC

Youth Banjo

  1. Josiah Wilkerson – Lowgap, NC
  2. Margo MacSweeney – Floyd, VA
  3. Berkley Stewart – Saltville, VA
  4. Shawn Rippel – Pilot Mountain, NC
  5. Paxton Ashe

Youth Dance

  1. Margo MacSweeney – Floyd, VA
  2. Misha MacSweeney – Floyd, VA
  3. Molly Wilkerson – Lowgap, NC
  4. Ella Grim – Elk Creek, VA
  5. Silas Wilkerson – Lowgap, NC

Youth Miscellaneous

  1. Blane Young – Roanoke, VA (mandolin)
  2. Hyland Hollifield – Independence, VA (mandolin)
  3. Hollace Oakes – Snowville, VA (mandolin)
  4. Orson Cornett (mandolin)
  5. Jude Morris – Saltville, VA (bass fiddle)

Youth Bands

  1. Denim & Plaid – Snowville, VA
  2. Pine Noodlers – Floyd, VA
  3. Chasing Grass – Mount Airy, NC
  4. Riverside Pickers – Independence, VA
  5. Grayson County Rambling Rascals

Youth Scholarships

  • Luke Spencer – Floyd, VA
  • Madalyn Jarrett – Tazewell, VA
  • Jude Morris – Saltville, VA
  • Kullen Hollifield – Independence, VA

Open (Adult) Competitions:


  1. Diane Parker
  2. Steve Kilby
  3. William Boggs
  4. Tim Thorton
  5. Dick Lamb


  1. Penny Kilby
  2. Vicki Boyd
  3. Jimmy Handy
  4. Virgil Adams
  5. Curtis Bond

Bass Fiddle

  1. Daniel Pruitt
  2. Stacy Boyd
  3. Lloyd Richardson
  4. Barbara Bowman
  5. Aaron Wright


  1. Blane Young
  2. Ricky Ellis
  3. Zeb Gambil
  4. Josh Bearman
  5. Aaron Combs


  1. Jack Hinshelwood
  2. Cody McGrady
  3. Brandon Graybeal
  4. Mike Brown
  5. Tucker Conner

Old-time Banjo

  1. Jared Boyd
  2. Trish Fore
  3. Hannah Cantrell
  4. Robbie Herman
  5. Michael Motley

Bluegrass Banjo

  1. Ayden Young
  2. Travis Watts
  3. Carter Lester
  4. Will Byrd
  5. Bobby Pillow

Old-time Fiddle

  1. Ben Miller
  2. Raistlin Brabson
  3. Jesse Maw
  4. Richard Bowman
  5. Garrett Wyatt

Bluegrass Fiddle

  1. Hollace Oakes
  2. Laura Maxfield
  3. Jordan Blevins
  4. Kameron Nunn
  5. Paul Herling

Old-time Band

  1. Slate Mountain Ramblers
  2. Wild Cats
  3. Grass Kickers
  4. The Holligans
  5. Cabin Creek Boys

Bluegrass Band

  1. Common Ground
  2. The Brothers Young
  3. Town and Country
  4. Travis Watts & High Voltage
  5. Back Country Bluegrass

Folk Song

  1. Ella Grim
  2. Meredith Wilkerson
  3. Tommy Nichols
  4. Jared Boyd
  5. Robbie Herman

Flat Foot Dance – Friday

  1. Brett Morris
  2. Michael Motley
  3. Cody Jackson
  4. Jamie Collins
  5. Angela Hale

Flat Foot Dance – Saturday

  1. Michael Motley
  2. Brett Morris
  3. Cody Jackson
  4. Barbara Bowman
  5. Angela Hale

The Legends of Grayson Heritage Award – Trish Fore

Share this:

About the Author

Nicholas Hancock

Nicholas Hancock is a former newspaper writer and editor who also played rhythm guitar in The Bluegrass Gentlemen from 1968 through mid-1974. Today, he is retired and enjoying his hobby of photographing bluegrass and other music events.