Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

45th annual 'Fiddlin' Down the Tracks' Old Time Fiddle Contest, Sept. 17

California State Old Time Fiddlers Association

The 45th annual "Fiddlin' Down the Tracks" Old Time Fiddle Contest will take place in Tehachapi on Saturday, September 17 at Country Oaks Baptist Church, 20915 Schout Rd. This year's contest is being held in memory of Charley Oveland, who was for many years the California Fiddlers State Membership Chairman. Charley took up fiddling later in life and turned himself into a credible fiddler. Tehachapi locals know him as he competed here in Tehachapi on several occasions. Unfortunately, Charley passed away earlier this year.

On Saturday morning contest registration opens (for contestants only) starting at 8 a.m. Opening ceremonies (open to all at no charge) begin at 8:50 a.m. with the Star Spangled Banner and a rousing fiddling piece, performed by the Tehachapi Strings Orchestra under the direction of Gayel Pitchford.

Fiddle playing starts with the Junior Division (ages 13 - 17) at 9:15 a.m. For the rest of the day, there will be non-stop music, as all of the fiddle age divisions, picking and novelty divisions, band scramble, twin fiddles, and other fun things take place. At the end of the day, the first place winners of all the fiddle divisions play off in the Grand Championship round. The overall winner gets a huge trophy, lots of bragging rights, and she/he will be certified to the National Fiddle Contest in Weiser, Idaho.

If you are a musician, this is the place to be. Grab your instrument, get a few tunes together, and come try your luck (and skill). The first five places in each division receive medallions and cash prizes, so there are plenty of ways to win. And lots of good music to hear.

District 3 of the Old Time Fiddlers will also award the 15th annual Howdy Forrester Scholarship to a college-bound fiddler who best exemplifies the spirit of Big Howdy Forrester. Forrester was Roy Acuff's fiddler in the Smoky Mountain Boys band for 36 years on the Grand Ole Opry. Forrester also wrote and arranged great fiddle tunes, which are played by the best fiddlers of today. The scholarship winner gets a check for one thousand dollars, a plaque, and his/her name on the big perpetual plaque. As always, there is no charge to come and watch the fiddle contest, although donations are always appreciated.

This is Americana at its best, and attendees are always amazed at how many young fiddlers there are and how well they play. So pack up the family and come join us for a weekend of great music. If you play old time music, bring your instrument and join us in the music-making! Old-time attire, cowboy hats, and boots are optional.

For more info, please call District 3 President, Gayel Pitchford, at (661) 823-8249.