John Paul Jarboe counted Herman Alvey Sr. among his friends.
Alvey’s influence led the 65-year-old Philpot man to switch to the fiddle about 10 years ago, when arthritis began making playing the guitar more and more difficult.
“In his later years, he was one of the best friends I had,” Jarboe said of the man he’d known for about 50 years.
And that made winning the “Herman Alvey Award” for taking first place in the senior division of Saturday’s Twin Lakes National Fiddler Championship a little more special.
The award, for the top fiddler age 65 and older, was named for the longtime Grayson County resident and nationally known musician and fiddle maker.
Before Saturday’s competition, Jarboe’s best finish had been a third-place win in Indiana a couple of years ago.
He had a little help from his old friend in taking home this trophey — he was playing on a fiddle Herman Alvey made.
“I bought it off him,” Jarboe said. “It cost me $2,000.”
The “Herman Alvey Award” was one of several recognitions given Saturday, July 21, during the inaugural Twin Lakes National Fiddler Championship.
Dan Kelly of Greenbrier, Tenn., received the “Bud Meredith Showmanship Award,” named in honor of Grayson County native Bud Meredith, who played with artists ranging from Pee Wee King to Faron Young, had a 15-year stint at Renfro Valley, and won the Burl Ives National Fiddling Contest in 1963.
Twin Lakes Regional Medical Center CEO Stephen Meredith received the “Leo Mudd Citizenship Award,” named for the retired Kentucky State Police trooper, motivational and anti-drug speaker, and community volunteer.
The winner of the championship fiddle-off, Maddie Denton of Murfreesboro, Tenn., received the “Jodie Hall Award,” named for the founder of the Official Kentucky State Championship Old-Time Fiddlers Contest, respected authority on old-time string music, and competition judge.
The winning bluegrass band, Mr. French’s Bluegrass Band of White House, Tenn., received the “Lonnie Peerce Award,” named for the Grayson County native and founder of the Blue Grass Alliance.
Early estimates are that several thousand people attended the day-long festival, held around the courthouse square in downtown Leitchfield.
Steven Elder, one of the event’s organizers, said the turnout was great and to expect a return championship next year.
“Given that we had 10 weeks to pull it together, it was a phenomenal success,” Elder said.
They were also happy with the number of vendors, and noted the festival gave community groups the opportunity to raise several thousand dollars in one day.
Elder said organizers are considering some changes in next year’s lineup, including possibly offering categories or performance times for other instruments, and more entertainment such as dancing.
Winners in the 2012 Twin Lakes National Fiddler Championship were:
Small Fry Fiddle ( Ages 8 and under)
1. David Lin, Lexington
2. Eli Park, Lexington
Junior Junior Fiddle (Ages 9 to 12)
1. Amber Adkins, Lexington
2. Ivy Phillips, Chapmansboro, Tenn.
3. Matthew Lin, Lexington
4. Josiah Newman, Scottsville
5. Bengamin Lin, Lexington
Junior Fiddle (ages 13 to 17)
1. Bethany Breakall, Lexington
2. Andrew Lin, Lexington
3. Alicyn Newman, Scottsville
4. Samantha Cunningham, Versailles
5. Allie Hagan, Nicholasville
Young Adult Fiddle (18 to 39)
1. Maddie Denton, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
2. Doug Fleener, Leitchfield
3. Joel Whittinghill, Bowling Green
4. Cody Marriott, Ava, Mo.
5. Tyler Andal, White House, Tenn.
Adult Fiddle (40 to 64)
1. Dan Kelly, Greenbrier, Tenn.
2. Marcia Denton, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
3. Michael Schroeder, Louisville
4. Carl Smith, Georgetown
Senior Fiddle (65 and over)
1. John Jarboe, Philpot
2. John Steuver, Knottsville
3. John Lanham, Dillshore, IN
1. Maddie Denton
2. Bethany Breakall
3. Dan Kelly
4. Amber Adkins
5. John Jarboe
1. Mr. French’s Bluegrass Band, White House, Tenn.
2. Someday Soon, Greenbrier, Tenn.
3. Higher Ground, Leitchfield
4. String Theory, Lexington
5. Balaam’s Mule, Olaton
Dancing - Junior (Ages 16 and under)
1. Shelby Dunn, Fairview, Tenn.
2. Ivy Phillips, Chapmansboro, Tenn.
3. Alysa Matheny, Fairview, Tenn.
4. Kati Huntley, Loretto, Tenn.
5. Raygan Sellers, Goodlettsville, Tenn.
Dancing - Adult (Ages 17 to 40)
1. Chris Stewart, Nashville, Tenn.
2. Joey Jonke, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
3. Jennifer Campbell, Nashville, Tenn.
Dancing - Senior (Ages 41 and over)
1. Tommy Jackson, Franklin, Tenn.
2. Dennis Rhodes, Hawesville
3. Pam Jaggers, Falls of Rough
4. Gerald Rhodes, Philpot