Sunday, October 20, was such a beautiful sunny autumn day that you could almost hear fiddle music floating in the air, especially if you attended the Illinois State Old-Time Fiddle Contest held this year at the Thelma Keller Convention Center in Effingham.
The 49th Illinois State Old-Time Fiddle Contest was hosted by Shelbyville’s Illinois Old-Time Fiddlers Association and talented fiddlers from all over Illinois competed to lay claim to being the best fiddle player in the state of Illinois.
Trophies and monetary prizes were presented to winners of the “Over 70 Division”, the “Beginning Fiddle Division”, and the “Junior Division”, with the winners of those competitions allowed to compete in the overall “Open Division” for the state championship title. The top five fiddlers in the “Open Division” came back for a “fiddle-off” to finalize who was the best fiddler of Illinois.
Highlights from this year’s event, besides the state winner, was a tie in the “Beginning Fiddle Division” in which the two youngest contestants in the contest had to come back for a “fiddle-off” so the judges could decide who would get third and fourth place. Also, the “Junior Division” winner placed second in the overall “Open Division” Illinois State Old-Time Fiddle Contest.
Shelby County was well represented with trophies, as Junior Hobson of Stewardson, Illinois took home third place in the “Over 70 Division” category in the Illinois State Old-Time Fiddle Contest. Patty Sorrell of Shelbyville, formerly of Findlay, was also a contestant in this category and put in a fine performance as well.
Also this year, two “Perpetuating Old-Time Music Awards”, for helping the Illinois Old-Time Fiddlers Association with fundraising to help fund the annual state fiddle contest and in helping to keep old time fiddle music continue for future generations, were presented to Jim Carder of Stewardson, and also Doug Hadfield of Charleston, who passed away shortly after last year’s contest. Hadfield’s parents accepted Doug’s award on their son’s behalf.