RockyGrass contest winners for 2017

 Meadow Mountain competing at RockyGrass 2017

In addition to being known as one of the finest bluegrass festivals west of the Mississippi River, RockyGrass, held each year in Lyons, CO, hosts a prestigious invitational band contest and individual competitions for all the bluegrass instruments.

The top three bands take home cash and merchandise prizes, and the winners get a main stage performance slot on the next year’s festival. Recognition at RockyGrass has also served as a career enhancer for winners, like previous champs Steep Canyon Rangers, Chatham County Line, Town Mountain, Blue Canyon Boys, Front Country, The Railsplitters, RapidGrass, and The Wooks.

For 2017, Meadow Mountain from Denver came out on top. This five piece group got its start busking at the Vail Farmers Market in 2014, and has risen since to win the competition at UllrGrass in Golden, CO as well as RockyGrass. Summers Baker is on guitar, Jack Dunlevie on mandolin, Ian Parker on fiddle, George Guthrie on banjo, and Wilson Luallen on bass.

They pattern their sound on the more progressive artists in bluegrass and acoustic string music, as you can see in this music video for one of their compositions, Battle Mountain Pass.

You can learn more about Meadow Mountain by visiting them online.

Other finishers this year include Circus No. 9 from Nashville in second place, and Ginny Mules from Denver in third.

For the instrumental contests at RockyGrass, competitors travel to Colorado from all over the world. Top prize in each category is a brand new, professional-grade instrument, with cash prizes going to second and third place finishers.

And the 2017 winners are…


  1. Matthew Davis (Murfreesboro, TN)
  2. Gregg Welty (Pittsburgh, PA)
  3. Hiro Arita (Kanagawa, Japan)


  1. Sam Leslie (Evergreen, CO)
  2. Michael Furry (Littleton, CO)
  3. Gregg Welty (Pittsburgh, PA)


  1. Ethan Setiawan (Boston, MA)
  2. Sam Leslie (Evergreen, CO)
  3. Bryan Johnson (Broomfield, CO)


  1. Julien Pinelli (Asheville, NC)
  2. Avery Merritt (Santa Clarita, CA)
  3. Josie Toney (Denver, CO)


  1. Duncan Stitt (Corryton, TN)
  2. Kyle Schoonover (Lone Grove, OK)
  3. Michael Testagrossa (Golden, CO)

Congratulations to all the winners!

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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.