DERIDDER, LA (KPLC) - One of the South's oldest fiddle competitions will take place at the Beauregard Parish Fair on Thursday, Oct. 4.
The contest is in its 85th year. It has been held each year in Beauregard with exception of a few years during World War II, when the fair was canceled, and during Rita, when the fair was postponed. Some say the contest dates back even farther, to 1910, but there is no written record to prove that.
The contest features fiddlers, young and old, and from across Louisiana and East Texas. It also draws spectators from near and far.
Competitors take the stage Oct. 4 at 10 a.m., but entertainment will begin at around 9:20 a.m. with a performance by the Midkiff Country Band. The band will also take the stage at 11:30 a.m.
Entertainment by champion fiddler Mastern Brack and the Medicare String Band is also set.
Brack, a longtime Evans resident, has been fiddling since he was a child. He is considered one of the best fiddlers in the state and beyond.
One of Brack's relatives, Henderson Brack, was a famous fiddling figure in the Newton County, Texas, area. Henderson Brack reportedly lost his right arm in the Civil War battle at Pleasant Hill on April 9, 1864, but continued fiddling with one arm.
Fiddling champion and author Ron Yule organizes the contest each year. He is also slated to perform with members of the Medicare String Band.
The event is held in conjunction with Senior Citizens Day at the fair.
Here is an event outlined submitted to KPLC by Yule:
85th Annual Beauregard Parish Fair Fiddle Contest & Senior Citizens Day
The Beauregard Parish fair fiddle contest will be held on Thursday, Oct. 4 at 10 a.m. at the Beauregard Parish Fairgrounds on U.S. 171 in DeRidder. All fiddlers are invited to attend and play or compete if you wish. All styles and genres of fiddling are encouraged. The format is as follows.
There are very few rules: A fiddler can play unaccompanied or with accompaniment of his/her choice. Musical notation is allowed but the fiddler can only play in the non-competitive division. Try to come early (by 9:30 a.m.), register at the registration table, and have your instrument tuned before you reach the stage. A fiddler can play any songs, but fiddle tunes or gospel tunes are preferred (this is a fiddle convention not a Suzuki judging contest).
Non-competition division: All fiddlers who wish to only perform and not compete are asked to play two (2) tunes of their choice. Each will receive $15.00 and a blue ribbon for their effort. The reading of musical notation is allowed in this division.
Competition Division: Each fiddler will be required to play two (3) tunes of their choice. Fiddlers will be judged in three age group and the winners will be paid the following amounts plus a ribbon:
0-17 – - - 1st - $40, 2nd - $30, 3rd - $20, all others will receive $15 for their participation.
18-61 – - - 1st - $40, 2nd - $30, 3rd - $20, all others will receive $15 for their participation.
65-above – - - 1st - $40, 2nd - $30, 3rd - $20, all others will receive $15 for their participation.
The judges are Connie Hughes and Pat Bean from East Texas.