Price captures fourth Grand Champion title

The 2022 National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest and Festival was a complete success this year, according to organizers who said there was good attendance for the competition and plenty of people taking part in musical performances and other festivities in Memorial Park.
 The contest and festival officially began June 21 and ended on June 25 with the competition for Grand Champion that evening.
 “I think the numbers were really pretty darn good,” said co-organizer Sandy Cooper. “I was looking at some of the ticket sales and I’m very happy and pleased. We were wondering for a long time how it was going to turnout, but everybody rallied at the last minute. People wait until the last minute to enter; I guess they want to keep us in suspense, but I think they had a pretty good turnout at the contest.”
 There were several fiddle categories, with competitors coming from as far away as New Jersey and even Japan to put their skills to the test. There were winners for each category, but the coveted prize came Saturday night in the 2022 Grand Champion competition.
 Five fiddlers rose to the top of the list of the contest’s most talented, including Tashina Clarridge, of Mt. Shasta, Calif.; Carl Hopkins, of Porter, Texas; Tristan Clarridge, of Mt. Shasta, Calif.; and Laura Black, of Idaho Falls.
 In the end, however, judges settled on talented multi-instrumentalist, Luke Price, who won his fourth National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest Grand Champion title.
 Price, who is as an instructor of fiddle at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Ore., has been playing the fiddle since he was six, winning national titles when he was 12 and 17, and winning his first National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Grand Champion title in 2014. He would go on to win two more before winning his fourth on Saturday.
 At 36, he is an accomplished fiddler who began teaching private lessons at the tender age of 15 and expanded into other styles, including jazz, soul, blues, funk, bluegrass, and pop.
 Born and raised in Boise, Idaho, Price eventually moved with his family to Meridian, Idaho, graduating from Eagle High School in Eagle, Idaho in 2003. 
 He went on to earn a BA in Professional Music at the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston, Mass. It is worth noting that Weiser High School graduate and musical performer, Stella Beams, also attends Berklee and performs at various events and functions around Weiser when she is in town.
 Not only did Price earn a degree at Berklee but he also met his future wife the first day he was there. The couple moved to Portland, Ore., where they currently reside, in 2009 after graduation.
 He continues to record and perform original music with his Old Soul Pop band, “Love, Dean” and has performed and collaborated with a host of other musicians, including Tony Furtado, a popular and well known singer-songwriter, banjoist, and guitarist out of Pleasanton, Calif. Price has also worked with Scott Law, Jesse Harper, Sam Grisman, Jack Dwyer, Love Canon, Tristan and Tashina Clarridge, and more.
 He continues to teach privately while also teaching at Lewis and Clark and is known for pushing genres, styles, and fellow musicians into new territory while respecting the musical traditions that have come before.
 “It was great; you never expect to win because there are so many great players that come and perform,” Price said of his fourth Grand National title. 
 He played three well known songs enroute to his title win, including “Gray Eagle,” “Old Rugged Cross,” and, finally, “Red’s Flag,” which he played for his final performance.
 Price said he travels to the Fiddle Contest every year and not only appreciates the competition but the camaraderie of fellow musicians.
 “The people that come here are all friends, so we spend all week playing in the campground and then go play in the contest, which anyone can win,” he said.
 Music is all Price has ever known, having first picked up a fiddle when he was six, and attended his first Fiddle Contest in Weiser at 8.
 “I started at a young age; It was my birthday and I got to choose an instrument I wanted to play, and I chose to play the fiddle,” he said. “A family friend was my first teacher, and she is actually the granddaughter of Manny Shaw, a famous Idaho Fiddler. They actually designed the Grand Champion trophy in Weiser after him.”
 Last year, Price decided he did not want to participate in the contest, coming to Weiser simply to “hang out.”
 “I came last year but just jammed and camped and hung out,” he said. “That’s really what it’s all about. It’s like a family reunion for us fiddle players. We just camp out in an old onion field and play tunes all day and all night and have some laughs. It’s a great community, with really great folks.”
2022 National Oldtime Fiddler 
Contest Results
Swing 17 & Younger:
 1. Arlea Forbes-Prater, 16 – Indianola, Wash.
 2. Rachel Beck, 14 – Melba, Idaho.
 3. Eliza Beck, 15 - Melba, Idaho.
 4. Andrew Beck, 12 - Melba, Idaho.
 5. Tiffany Clemons, 17 - Nampa, Idaho.
Swing 18 & Older:
 1. Keith Niehenke, 52 - Oakesdale, Wash.
 2. Scott Sumner, 61 - Milton-Freewater, Ore.
Small Fry:
 1. Sawyer Dietrich - Casa Grande, Ariz.
 2. Emily Fewkes – Meridian, Idaho.
 3. Vanessa Gridasova – Nampa, Idaho.
 4. Violet Fenner – Middleton, Idaho.
 5. Isley Dietrich – Casa Grande, Ariz.
 1. Mckenna Petersen – Fulshear, Texas.
 2. Tristan Paskvan – Southlake, Texas.
 3. Brie Dietrich – Casa Grande, Ariz.
 4. Aspen Dietrich – Casa Grande, Ariz.
 5. Adrienne Jensen – Meridian, Idaho.
On-Line 17 and Younger:
 1. Max Francis, 10 – Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
 2. Maggi Cucitro, 14 – San Tan Valley, Ariz.
 3. Mackee Turpin, 16 – Blackfoot, Idaho.
On-Line 18 & Older:
 1. Ellie Geslifon, 18 – Provo, Utah.
 2. Infinity Thomson, 36 – Denton, Mont.
 3. Wendy Kosakoff, 62 – River Edge, N.J.
 4. Laurie Kost, 36 – Los Altos, Calif.
 5. Seiji Ueda, 63 - Japan.
 1. Lars Hagbom (Burns, Ore.) and Kaitlyn Nejely (Nampa, Idaho).
 2. Mckenna Petersen (Fulshear, Texas) and Aimee Petersen (Fulshear, Texas).
 3. Vi Wickam (Loveland, Colo.) and Cody Stadelmair (Fort Collins, Texas).
 4. Ranelle Dietrich (Casa Grande, Ariz.) and Jetta Brooks (Middleton, Idaho).
 5. Rachel Beck (Melba, Idaho) and Eliza Beck (Melba, Idaho).
Top Five Fiddlers:
 1. Luke Price - Portland, Ore.
 2. Tashina Clarridge-Lindley – Mt. Shasta, Calif.
 3. Carl Hopkins - Porter, Texas.
 4. Tristan Clarridge – Mt. Shasta, Calif.
 5. Laura Black – Idaho Falls, Idaho.
Top Five Accompanists:
 1. Rod Anderson – Spokane, Wash.
 2. Scott Sumner – Milton-Freewater, Ore.
 3. (Tie) Hiatt Hopkins/Darren Meeks.
 4. Ed Miller – Otis Orchards, Wash.
Grand Champion:
 Luke Price, 36 – Portland, Ore.


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