Sunday, Aug. 3, will be a continuation of our Festival from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with craft vendors and family fun events like a petting zoo, balloon artist and more. Raffle will take place at 3 pm on Sunday, Aug. 3 for all raffle prizes.
Complete the 2014 Downtown Branson Fiddle Festival registration form to participate in the fiddle competition - FREE to Compete - and return it to the Downtown Branson Betterment Association (DBBA).
Ricky Turpin was born in Lubbock Texas, started his interest in fiddling at age twelve, and was influenced by his dads fiddle playing. His primary influence was by Dick Barrett, Texas Shorty and Benny Thomasson albums as well as Terry Morris who became his primary influence and friend. Ricky’s favorite two fiddlers are Terry Morris (Texas style fiddle), Johnny Gimble, “I like practically everything about his fiddling: swing, back up fiddle, and waltzes.” When Ricky was twenty-two he was the first recipient of the Tom T. Hall Endowed Scholarship in Country Music at South Plains College. One of Ricky’s instructors at South Plains College, Ed Marsh, said, “Turpin is one of the most capable and outstanding musicians ever to have been enrolled in our program. We feel Ricky is an excellent choice for our first recipient and will set high standards for scholarship recipients in years to come.” Ricky has been the Texas State Fiddle Champion twice, a World Series of Fiddling Champion, first runner-up for the Grand Nationals Championship and a two-time Grammy winner. On the recommendation from Johnny Gimble, considered by many to be one of the best fiddle players ever, Turpin came to New Braunfels in 1988 to play with Clay Blaker and the Texas Honky-Tonk Band. After two years with Blaker, Turpin joined Johnny Bush for a year and a half. Next, Ricky went to work for Ray Benson and Asleep at the Wheel band. Larry Franklin had recommended Ricky to be his replacement, in the two and a half years while playing for Asleep at the Wheel he won two Grammy’s. On the tribute album for Bob Wills, Ricky recorded with some of the ex-Texas Playboys like Johnny Gimble, Herb Remington, and Eldon Shamblin. And with assorted celebrities including artists like Huey Lewis, Merle Haggard, George Strait, Dolly Parton, Vince Gill, Chet Atkins, Marty Stewart, Lyle Lovett, Suzy Bogus, Riders In The Sky, and Willie Nelson. With all his many awards and accomplishments he still remains passionate about the old time fiddle style itself.
Alita Weisgerber, formerly from Missouri, now lives in Minnesota. She has played fiddle and guitar for 24 years and traveled to contests across the country winning numerous awards including being the Missouri State Champion, Mid- America fiddle champion, top 10 in the national contest in Weiser Idaho, and three time runner up in the Gone to Texas division in Hallettsville Tx. Alita has also served as a judge at the Rocky Mountain Fiddle Championship in Denver CO, and Mid-America Championship among many others.
It is fitting that the man who would come to practically dominate Texas fiddle contests was born in the capital city of Austin, on January 1, 1965, the first day of a new generation.Jimmie Don Bates was the only child of Valeara and Jimmie D. Bates, who not only instilled their child with the desire to compete and to be the best he could be, but who provided the tools and training to be the champion he has become. Jimmie Don started playing the fiddle when he was 11. His father-who had lost the use of his own left hand in a horse and buggy accident as a child-tirelessly took young Jimmie Don to teachers and contests. Jimmie Don learned from Garland Gainer, a New Mexico native who had learned the Texas style himself from the great Norman Solomon. Twice a week, Vernon Worrell would patiently beat a drum until Jimmie Don picked up the rhythm. When he was 13, Jimmie Don met Bennie Thomason at the State Championship contest in Hallettsville, and accepted his invitation to visit and study from him at Red Oak, Texas. The next year, Jimmie Don became the youngest person ever to win the Texas Old Time Fiddler’s Association championship contest at its annual convention in Burnet, and he has won that contest many times since. 1983 was a pivotal year for Jimmie Don Bates. He lost his father, graduated from high school, and won the Texas state championship. He began teaching fiddle, but had to work at various jobs to supplement his income. In the ensuing years, Jimmie Don continued the path his parents worked so hard to guide him towards. In 1987, he became the third Texan to win the national championship in Weiser, Idaho. He has won the world championship contest at Crockett, Texas five times in a row, and he has won the Texas state championship contest seven times. Jimmie Don now lives in Austin, Texas. In 1995, Jimmie Don was elected President of the Texas Old Time Fiddlers Association. He has now taught 83 people the Texas style of playing fiddle or guitar, and it is obvious that Texas fiddling will dominate Jimmie Don Bates, the first of a new generation of Texas fiddlers, for all his years to come.
Wayne Massengale is a bolt of lightning waiting to strike! This Harrison, Arkansas native has been playing shows in Branson since 1981, spending ten years with the award-winning Country Tonite Show and was also a part of Clay Cooper’s Country Express Show.
In addition, he has worked with Roy Clark for five years playing the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville Now, Hee Haw, and Tanya Tucker.
Wayne constantly astounds audiences with his outstanding ability on the fiddle combined with his distinct showmanship. The Grand Band’s fiddler is also five-time Branson Fiddler of the Year, has won the Arkansas State Championship, and the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music Association (SPBGMA) Most Promising Fiddler award.
Wayne and his wonderful wife Melody have two sons Garrett and Dillon.
Contact information is:
Downtown Branson Betterment Association P.O. Box 1034, Branson, MO 65615 112 W. College St., Branson, MO 65616
Toll Free 866-523-1190
Phone 417-334-1548 Fax 417-335-3643