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International Fiddlers Jamboree Competition

By Cyndi Lundeberg
By Clundeberg@wbbjtv.com

Holladay, TENN. - The West Tennessee Blue Grass Championship brings old time music lovers from around the world together. Competition winners have even traveled from as far as Sweden.

Coordinator Wayne Holladay said it is a wonderful community event that takes thirteen months of preparation.

"It brings a lot of tourism into Benton County," said Holladay. "If you look out in the parking lot you'll see more out of state cars than Benton County cars."

The competition has been stringing along for 57 years. 79-year-old Charlie Sykes was the competitions first ever winner nearly six decades ago. He said he has been fiddling around since 1948.

"I'm proud they're still having it. It has outlasted just about all of them," said Sykes.

When Daniels won the event back in 1956, he was awarded $50 and a coffee mug. Now, the real winners are the students of Holladay Elementary, where all the events proceeds are donated. $13,000 worth of blue grass purchased the students a brand new playground.

"Last year they purchased twenty-five new computers for the classroom, so that's awesome," said Holladay Elementary Principal, Marty Arnold.

Holladay residents said this event is the heart of their community.

"There aren't that many events around here like this, and its been going so long," said Holladay. "And (as) the people of Holladay, we plan our year around it."

Ten-year-old Lane Johnson won the Pee-Wee Fiddler competition for participants age ten and younger.

"It makes me feel happy and it sounds so awesome and I just like it a whole lot," said Johnson.

Fiddlers range in age from just four-years-old to an impressive 94-years-old. Participants said it is more than a competition, it is a time of celebration and collaboration.

"I have friends from back in the 1950's, (and the) only time I ever see them is a fiddlers contest," said Daniels.

For more information on how you can be apart of the annual tradition visit http://www.holladaybluegrass.com/.
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