State Contest Rules 

GENERAL CONTEST RULES

1. The deadline for pre-registration is the Friday preceding the contest weekend. Any contestant whose registration is not received by that date will be assessed a late fee of $10.

2. All commercial recording rights are reserved and shall become the property of Hot Springs Greater Learning Foundation and Wyoming Fiddlers Association. By registering for the contest, the contestant waives commercial recording rights.

3. Contest officials will randomly draw playing order numbers for contestants for each round in each division. Playing order will be posted in the practice room as soon as possible.

4. Contestants at each appearance must first play a hoedown; second, a waltz; and third, a tune of their choice other than a hoedown or waltz. (Twin Fiddle contestants at each appearance will play a waltz and a tune of their choice other than a waltz.) No tune shall be played more than once during all appearances of a contestant in each division, including a playoff round for a tie. Although no stopwatch will be used, contestants are asked to limit time on stage for any round (including the No Holds Barred and Twin Fiddle divisions) to five (5) minutes. Points will be deducted if the performance becomes too long, monotonous, or repetitious. Please note: a stopwatch is used at the national contest.

5. Contestants may play without accompanist or with not more than three accompanists, except for the Small Fry and Junior-Junior divisions, which are limited to two (2) accompanists. There is no accompanist limit for the No Holds Barred Division

6. Except for electric bass guitar, contact microphones and amplified instruments will not be permitted during any competition.

7. No trick or fancy fiddling is allowed during contestant appearances, except in the No Holds Barred Division.

8. Judging will be scored for old-time fiddling ability, danceability, rhythm and timing, and tone quality. All scores will be cumulative. Points will be deducted for any violations of the above rules, numbers 4-7 (inclusive).

In addition to the standard criteria for other divisions, for the Twin Fiddle Division, judges will also consider appropriateness of harmony, balance, coordination of parts and the musical effect of the twin fiddling. Twin Fiddling is defined as two fiddles playing in harmony.

9. Any contestant who harasses or threatens a judge will be automatically eliminated for the current and following year’s contest.

10. Any contestant winning three consecutive years in the State Division must either judge the following year’s contest, or sit out the contest that year. Any contestant winning three consecutive years in the Senior, Adult and Junior divisions will automatically move into the State Division. Any contestant winning three consecutive years in the Junior-Junior or Small Fry divisions will automatically move into the next age division. This rule does not apply to the No Holds Barred or Twin Fiddle divisions. Any contestant winning first place in the Novice Division is not eligible to enter the Novice Division again.

11. In case of a tie in cumulative scores after the final round of any division, those contestants who are tied will play one (1) tune (hoedown, waltz or tune of choice) for the tie play-off. The contestant may not repeat a tune played in a previous round of the division.

12. Any protest must be signed by not less than three (3) contestants (accompanists qualify as contestants)and submitted in writing to the contest chairman and within three (3) hours of protest occurrence. The protest will be considered by the contest committee, which is comprised of Wyoming Fiddlers’ Association officers and the contest director.

13. All decisions of the judges and of the contest committee will be final.

14. Contestants ages 60 and over may enter both the Senior Division and the State Division. Contestants under age 60 may enter their age division, or the Novice Division, or the State Division. All contestants, regardless of their entry in any age division, the State Division or the Novice Division, may also enter the No Holds Barred Division and the Twin Fiddle Division.

15. If a contestant of any age wants to enter the State Division, rather than an age division, the contestant may do so. The contestant may move back to his/her age division in subsequent years.

16. Nine divisions are included in the contest:

State

  • Open to all ages
  • Residency Rule Applies
  • 3 rounds

    Senior

  • At least 60 years of age
  • Residency Rule Applies
  • 2 rounds

    Adult

  • 18-59 years of age
  • Residency Rule Applies
  • 2 rounds

    Junior

  • 13-17 years of age
  • Residency Rule Applies
  • 2 rounds

    Junior-Junior

  • 9-12 years of age
  • Residency Rule Applies
  • 2 rounds

    Small Fry

  • Less than 9 years of age
  • Residency Rule Applies
  • 1 round

    Novice

  • Open to all ages
  • Residency Rule Applies
  • 1 round

    No Holds Barred

  • Open to all ages
  • No Residency Rule
  • 2 rounds

    Twin Fiddle

  • Open to all ages
  • No Residency Rule
  • 2 rounds

    All divisions with the exception of the No Holds Barred , Twin Fiddle and Novice divisions are certified, thus each first place winner in each division will be certified (with entry fees paid) to compete at the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in June in Weiser, Idaho.

    PLEASE NOTE: The national contest rule for the Senior Division is: Contestants must be at least 60 years of age. Contestants 70 years of age and over qualify to compete in the Senior-Senior Division at the national contest.

    17. RESIDENCY RULE: In order to be eligible to enter the State Old-Time Fiddlers Contest, a contestant must have been a resident of the State of Wyoming for a period of one (1) year prior to the date of the contest. Excluded from this rule are those who have spent time during the year in another state or country while attending school, serving in the Armed Forces for our country, or on assignment by the contestant’s employer which would take the contestant out of Wyoming, provided that the state of Wyoming is the contestant’s established residence.

    A contestant falsifying time of residency in the state of Wyoming shall be penalized in the following manner: Any title the contestant won the year the infraction occurred shall not be recognized. In addition, the contestant will not be eligible to compete in the State Championship Old-Time Fiddlers Contest the year following the year in which the infraction occurred.

    GENERAL INFORMATION

    PURPOSE: The original and continuing purpose of the Old-Time Fiddlers Contest is to help perpetuate the old-time fiddling of pioneering America; to help develop a more genuine audience appreciation, understanding and participation; to preserve the old-time fiddling tunes; to develop and encourage local, regional, and state old-time fiddlers’ jam sessions, contests and festivals; to permanently record and display the history, relics and mementos of past old-time fiddlers’ art; and to acknowledge the present-day old-time fiddlers who are helping to preserve the traditional expressions.

    JUDGING: Judging will be done by three (3) qualified judges, judging from a remote location. No judge will be allowed to see any contestant or hear an introduction commentary. Contestants are identified to the judges by number only. The exceptions are the No Holds Barred and Twin Fiddle divisions, during which the judges are watching the contestants from in front of the stage.

    DRESS: In keeping with the theme and purpose of the contest, dress of pioneer America is suggested. However, since western dress is customary in the community, it will be acceptable if “old-time” dress is not possible. Persons wearing beach wear, shorts or sun wear will definitely feel “out-of-place.”

    GOVERNANCE: All questions, decisions and plans will be governed by the overall committee on the basis of our purpose.

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