95th annual Star Fiddlers’ Convention in NC

The 95th Annual Star Fiddlers’ Convention, the longest continuously running convention in North Carolina, is now in the record books and with it, the largest crowd and group of contestants that the talent contest has seen in recent years. 

Mary Callicutt of the Halcyon Women’s Club that sponsors the event shared, “I was in awe with the number of people here. This year was just exceptional. We were pleased with the turnout. The bands were all very good.”

The four hour competition, held in East Montgomery High School’s gym in Biscoe, NC, included the presentation of the CV Richardson award. The fiddlers’ convention was the brainchild of Mr. Richardson of Star High School’s PTA in 1926. In order to pay tribute to its founder, the CV Richardson Memorial Award was established and is presented annually to someone who is dedicated to working and promoting the Star Fiddlers’ Convention. This year’s recipient was Charlie Cranford. The Central Lumber and Supply of Troy store owner has provided plywood for the stage and cloggers’ dance floor for numerous years. Following the presentation, Cranford’s grandsons took to the stage and sang. It was a touching tribute.

“We want everyone to come back next year. The judges told me later that everyone was so good that it was hard to judge!” Callicutt concluded.

Winners for this year’s event were:

Band: first-Flint Hill of Asheboro; second-Passin’ Thru from Star; third-Ingram Family from Aberdeen; fourth-Midway from Kannapolis.

Fiddle: first-Kayleigh Stills from Asheboro, second-Natalie Ingram from Aberdeen, third-Bette Beane from Asheboro, fourth-Malachi Freeman from Carthage.

Banjo: first-Rodney Haywood, second-Alex Edwards from Salisbury, third-Curt Love from Oakboro, fourth-Jack Ritter from Robbins.

Guitar: first-Tommy Chandler from Lexington, second-CH Lineberry from Star, third-William Britt from Star, fourth-Dale Blackwelder from Kannapolis.

Mandolin: first-Dwayne Runyon from Franklinville, second-Jonah Horton from North Wilkesboro, third-Zack Mondry from Burlington, fourth-Eddie Ingram from West End.

Bass: first-John Fogleman from Burlington, second-Will Thrailkill from Mt.Ulla, third-Jimmy Damron, fourth-Joe Grooms from Ellerbee.

Dobro: first-Larry Williams from Asheboro, second-Tony Hensley from Elon, third-Sandy Hatley from Stanfield, fourth-Danny Casstevens from Mocksville.

Vocal: first-Chris Poole from Thomasville, second-Caroline Owens from Denton, third-Natalie Ingram from Aberdeen, fourth-CH Lineberry from Star.

Special Instruments: first-Kenny Welch from Liberty (harmonica).

Dance (12 and under): first-Sarah Luther, second-Kara Greene, third-Sophia McNeill.

Dance (adult): first-Jimmie Harrington, second-Lou Smith from Lakeview, third-Newell Gallimore from Ellerbee, fourth-Azelea Bolton.

Up and Coming Bluegrass Talent (under 15 years of age): Jake Goforth from Troy (13 years old).

Fiddlers’ conventions continue the next two weekends in central NC. This coming Saturday night, March 14, the 85th Annual Highfalls Old-Time Fiddlers’ Convention will be held in North Moore High School’s auditorium near Robbins, NC. Competition kicks off at 6:00 p.m. Registration runs from 4:30 until 7:00 p.m. Over $1,800 will be awarded to winners in band, fiddle, banjo, guitar, mandolin, singer, dancing, bass, dobro, piano/miscellaneous, and most promising talent. The Second Annual Theron Caviness Best Banjo Award will be presented in his memory. Admission is $7.00. For more information, call 910-464-3600.

The following Saturday, March 21, the Seagrove Fiddlers’ Convention will be held in Seagrove Elementary School’s gymtorium, beginning at 7:00 pm. Registration for the Randolph County talent show starts at 6:00 and runs until 7:30 p.m. $1200 in cash prizes will be awarded to winners. The second annual Alan Perdue Memorial Award will be presented to someone who has made significant contributions to the promotion of bluegrass music in our region. Admission is $8.00. For more information, call 336-381-3183 or 336- 963-3694.

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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.