The Grand Master Fiddler for 2008 is Tristan Clarridge of Redding, Calif. His sister Tashina Clarridge, also of Redding, Calif. placed second.
The two-day 37th annual Grand Master Fiddler Championship is the nation’s championship event held at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Fan Fest in Nashville, Tenn.
“We had our strongest field of contestants yet” said Howard Harris, GMFC president. “Fiddlers came from across the U.S., Canada, the Czech Republic, Netherlands and Australia”.
The Grand Master Fiddler Championship. Inc. is a Tennessee non-profit and a U.S. IRS 501(c)(3) charitable corporation, formed to educate about and perpetuate fiddling as an art form and cultural treasure.
Fiddlers competed for over $14,000 in prizes.
Tristan took home $2,000 in cash, a $3,200 TAGG violin, the bronze Grand Master Fiddler statuette and appeared on the Grand Ole Opry. This was his second championship with a win in 2006. Tashina received $1,500 and a plaque. This was her fourth consecutive second place showing.
Competitors showed their talents amongst some of the leading performers in acoustic music including Grand Ole Opry stars the Whites, the Grascals, Carrie Hassler and Hard Rain, Cathy Roberts Band, Fiddle Frenzy and Dr. Ming Wang and Carlos Enrique.
In honor of its founder, the organization presented the Dr. Perry F. Harris Award to U.S. Sen. Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia for his work in preserving and promoting the art of fiddling. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee was on hand to honor Byrd.
“Yeah, man. Play that fiddle”. exclaimed Sen. Byrd as he heard the competitors from back stage.
“It was such a great day,”Harris said.
The other top-10 winners included in descending order Kimber Ludiker of Spokane, Wash.; Luke Price of Boston, Mass.; James Schlender of Bozeman, Mont.; Wes Westmoreland of Temple, Texas; Michael Barnett of Longmeadow, Mass.; Alex DePue of San Diego, Calif; Miya Saito of Bend, Ore.; and Joel Whittinghill of Bowling Green, Ky. Contestants placing 11 through 20 were Ellie Goodman of Okla.; Maddie Denton of Tenn.; Billy Contreras of Tenn.; Doug Fleener of Ky.; Isaac Callender of Ore.; Dennis Ludiker of Texas; Sedra Bistodeau of Minn.; Jeff Guernsey of Ind.; Mark Ralph of Huntsville, Ala.; and Jakub Trasak of Mass.
Winners of the Nashville Open Senior Fiddler Championship were John Melnichuk of Washington, Lorraine Porter, Edward Brown, and Fred Sullivan, all of Tenn.
Winning guitar accompanists were Anthony Mature of Texas, Terry Ludiker of Idaho, Steve Williams of Texas, Darin Meeks of Idaho, and Al Mouledous of Texas.
For more info, visit Grand Master Fiddle Championship.