Nearly 30 Compete In State Fiddling Championship

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Some of those attending Parade of the Hills on Friday were treated to more than three hours of stringed melodies during the annual Ohio State Fiddling Contest at Stuart’s Opera House.

The annual competition brings fiddlers from around Ohio and across the country for the chance to move on the National Oldtime Fiddlers' Contest and Festival held in Weiser, Idaho.

Nearly 30 fiddlers competed on the historic Stuart’s stage on Friday evening ranging from elementary students to grandparents.

The musicians competed in four age groups — 12 and under, 13-18, 19-54, and 55 and over. The group with the most participants was the 13-18 age group with nine fiddlers.

The four age group winners then had a showdown to compete for the title of Ohio grand champion, $300 and a plaque.

In the 12 and under category, Benjamin Lin took the top honors with Addyson Hiltner and David Lin taking second and third places respectively.

Andrew Lin won in the teen category with Joe Lautzenheizer placing second and Brandon Shull coming in third.

In the 19-54 age category, Krista Solars won with Jacob Stockdale placing second and Tim Cuffman coming in third.

Of the 55 and older competitors, Meg Litteral took top honors with Darrell Murray second and Gaylord Johnson in third.

Andrew Lin, 14, of Louisville, Ky., clasped the grand champion title — something that he’s used to.

Lin said he originally wanted to play a trumpet when he was a small child, but was too little. He decided to pick up the violin instead at the age of 5 and began playing fiddle four years ago. His mother, Elizabeth Lin, said that her eldest son has also earned the title of Grand Master Youth Champion in Nashville, Tenn.

“He’s been to nationals a few times,” she said.

But Andrew isn’t the only fiddler in the family. His three younger brothers, Matthew, 12, Benjamin, 10, and David, 7, also competed in Friday’s state competition. Elizabeth said neither she or her husband Winston play the fiddle.

Contest organizer and emcee Keith Johnson said that this year’s competition was tough. He said some familiar faces competed again, but there were also some new challengers this year.

According to Johnson, some contestants traveled great distances to compete. Randy Warner of Nevada, who competed in the 55 and over category, traveled the furthest.

Audience member Miranda Daubenmier of Logan said it was her first time attending the annual fiddling competition.

“It’s wonderful. I’ll probably come again,” she said.

Patti Roberts of Wooster was in attendance to watch her daughter Sarah compete in the teen category. She said it was her third time coming to the event.

“It’s fun hearing the variety of songs and different melodies,” she said.

Carol Bush and Larry Reynolds of Lancaster said they’ve made it to the competition a few times.

“I love everything about it,” Bush said. The two said they’re always impressed with the talent of the young performers.

Reynolds said that every single contestant in the teen category provided high-quality performances.

“Every kid was just remarkable,” he said.