GALAX, Va. — Musicians from the Surry County area made the trek up the mountain to the 80th-Annual Galax Old Fiddlers’ Convention that culminated last weekend, and returned with a number of honors recognizing their talents.
This included Richard Bowman of Mount Airy winning third place in old-time fiddle competition and his group, The Slate Mountain Ramblers, taking third in the old-time band contest. Marsha Todd, who also is associated with that group, was the fourth-place winner in the clawhammer banjo division.
The convention featured 11 different categories of adult competition in individual instruments, folk singing and dance, in which the top 10 in each were awarded. Fifteen groups each placed in the judging of old-time and bluegrass bands.
Other local groups awarded in the old-time band category were The Zephyr Lightning Bolts, of State Road, which was picked as 11th-best; The South Carolina Broadcasters, a Mount Airy group, 13th; and The Pilot Mountain Bobcats of Westfield, 14th.
In bluegrass band competition, The Country Boys, a Mount Airy group, took seventh place, with The GJ Project, also from Mount Airy, capturing ninth-place honors.
Other local-area residents faring well in individual competition categories were:
• Ivy Sheppard of Mount Airy, the ninth-place old-time fiddle winner;
• Casey Driscoll, Mount Airy, eighth place, bluegrass fiddle;
• Nancy Sluys, Westfield, 10th place, clawhammer banjo;
• Spencer Strickland, Lambsburg, Virginia, seventh place, guitar;
• Tommy Nichols, Mount Airy, 10th place, folk song;
In individual youth competition, five winners were recognized in each category, including Mount Airy resident Travis Watts, who took fourth place in the bluegrass banjo contest.
The best-all-around performer at the convention was judged to be Jack Krack of Marlington, West Virginia, the winner of the old-time fiddle competition who finished just ahead of Bowen and Bowman in that division.
In all, the Galax convention offered $20,000 in cash prizes, trophies and ribbons, and drew contestants from across the region and other parts of the United States along with foreign nations including England and Australia.
Convention activities began on Aug. 4 and concluded Saturday night.