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Tebbetts Fiddling contest a success after 15-year absence

Tebbetts Fiddling contest a success after 15-year absence

July 1st, 2014 in News

David Lamb of Delight, Ark. and Al Wieberg perform Saturday at the Polly Burre Memorial Old Time Fiddler's Contest. Wieberg and Delight were two of many contestants in the senior division for fiddlers ages 60 and older. There was a also a youth division for fiddlers 15 and younger, and an open division for fiddlers between the ages of 16 and 59.

Photo by Brittany Ruess

After a 15-year hiatus, Jim Buffington said he was "thrilled to death" with the the turnout at the Tebbetts Fiddle Contest on Saturday.

Buffington figured that the competition - featuring 19 fiddlers in three divisions - had about 200 people in attendance, most of whom weren't chased away when rain befell on the festivities.

View photos of the Polly Burre Memorial Old Time Fiddler's Contest

Another thrill for Buffington - who was approached by the planners of the 57th-annual Tebbetts Community Picnic back in February to revive and organize the contest - was being able to name the event the "Polly Burre Memorial," in honor of the former Fiddle Contest head who passed away in 1999.

In fact, when asked by the picnic committee back in February, honoring Burre was the first thing he did.

"It was the first priority for me because I knew Polly well and he was committed to old-time fiddling," Buffington said on Monday.

Buffington credited established local fiddler Howard Marshall of Fulton with the idea to name the event after Burre and asked permission of Burre's family before officially re-christening it. Burre's three daughters even took part in aspects of the running of the competition.

Buffington - who spent the previous 10 years spearheading the Jim Hockemeyer Memorial at the Mokane Fall Festival - used connections from that experience to round up sponsors and participants.

Cash prizes were awarded to the top three finishers in the open, youth and senior categories while everyone who participated received $20 "show-up money" and a commemorative medal.

Buffington called the crowd "enthusiastic" and the response on Saturday positive.

See photos of the Tebbetts Community Picnic

"I think the Tebbetts (Picnic) committee was happy with it as well," Buffington said. "I hope once we get the tradition (of the contest) re-established, we can keep it going in the future."