Young ‘uns tear it up at Galax

Youth competitors waiting their turn at Galax – photo by Perrie Coker

All week competitors are lining up at the 82nd annual Old Fiddlers Convention in Galax, VA. Felts Park is filled to the brim with campers and RVs of every kind, and you can hear bluegrass and old time jams ringing out from blocks away.

Last night was the youth competition, for musicians 15 years and younger, which brings hot young pickers from several states to Galax to try their hand at grabbing a ribbon. Before each event, contestants congregate backstage under the big yellow tent, standing in line for their stage spot, and going over the song they have prepared. It may sound like a bee hive – or a buzz saw – to the uninitiated, but it’s a beautiful sound to those in line.

Here’s a video the folks at The Crooked Road posted featuring regional hot shots Presley Barker on guitar, Kyser George on bass, Carson Peters on fiddle, and Owen Snyder on banjo.

Here are the results from last night at Galax.

Youth Old Time Fiddle

  1. Max McGlothlin – Narrows, VA
  2. Asa Nelson – Zionville, NC
  3. Molly Widener – Fancy Gap, VA
  4. Willie Marshmer – Fairfax, VA
  5. Gracen Chally – Smyrna, GA

Youth Bluegrass Fiddle

  1. Marissa Colter – Clemmons, NC
  2. Ruth Shumway – West Jefferson, NC
  3. Liam Purcell – Deep Gap, NC
  4. Madison Elmore – Hays, NC
  5. Ella Thomas – West Columbia, SC

Youth Mandolin

  1. Kyser George – Westfield, NC
  2. Elijah Moore – Kernersville, NC
  3. Addison Levy – Radford, VA
  4. Carson Peters – Piney Flats, TN
  5. Emma Lowe – Wilkesboro, NC

Youth Clawhammer Banjo

  1. Karlie Keeper – Sparta, NC
  2. Sailor Coartney – Floyd, VA
  3. Nicholas Wingo – Ivanhoe, VA
  4. Kevin Baddingfield – Flag Pond, TN
  5. Timber Vickery – Troutdale, VA

Youth Bluegrass Banjo

  1. Carter Wilson – Fleetwood, NC
  2. Stewart Werner – Rocky Mount, VA
  3. G. Rockwell – Bridgeport, CT
  4. Will Palmer – Davidson, NC
  5. Jocob Moretz – Boone, NC

Youth Guitar

  1. Gabe Bemus – Salisbury, NC
  2. Gus McGee – King, NC
  3. Brody York – Mt. Airy, NC
  4. Will Hart – Fletcher, NC
  5. Handen Walters – Independence, VA

Youth Bands

  1. Cool Breeze – Piney Flats, TN
  2. One Fret Over – Huntersville, NC
  3. The Earlysville Bluegrass Boys – Earlysville, VA
  4. The Vegetarian Fisherman with Mullets, Barefeet, and Coonskin Hats – Sparta, NC
  5. The Toned Strangers – Mocksville, NC

Congratulations one and all!

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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.

  • Robert Godfrey

    Of course you won’t see Presley Barker’s name in the list of winners of the youth division. He was too busy coming in first place in the ADULT division in the guitar category.