Fink strikes again

Published 6:16 am Wednesday, July 25, 2007

By By Adrienne McKenzie
A thousand dollars was incentive enough to bring in fiddlers from all over the south to the 28th Annual Rotary Club Fiddlers Convention, but Will Fink of Pensacola won the prize for the second year in a row.
Event coordinator Keith Castleberry said the event had a great turnout both in the crowd and in participants.
"I think it was one of the better ones we've ever had," Castleberry said. "We had good participants, judges and the crowd was really good, too. I think there were about 450 people there. That's a real good crowd."
The grand prize for the top fiddler was raised from $300 to $1,000 this year and Castleberry feels as if that increase in money brought more fiddle players to the convention.
"I know it brought in more fiddlers," he said. "We had 13 and we usually have around six or seven. I think once the word gets out over the state we'll have a lot more."
Fink was excited about taking home first place although he won last year at the Fiddlers Convention. This is his fourth year winning the contest since he's been competing.
"It feels wonderful to have won again," Fink said. "I was actually really shocked though."
The prize was raised all in the name of one individual, Wade "Pappy" Ray. At the end of last year's Fiddlers Convention, Walter J. Bowen declared that the Wade Ray Memorial Fund would donate $500 each year for the first place fiddler during the fiddling contest. The Rotary Club decided to add $200, which made the prize a total of 1,000 big ones.
It was an emotional moment when Bowen, the founder of the Wade Ray Memorial Fund, spoke about his friend, Pappy Ray, Saturday night and as he presented Fink with Pappy Ray's fiddle to play one final song for the evening.
Ray is known as the Grand Master Fiddle Master of country music. He was born in 1916 and died in 1998.
Fiddling was not the only musical entertainment of the evening. The crowd enjoyed vocal groups, string bands and dobro, banjo, guitar and mandolin players as well.
Winners for categories other than fiddling won $100 for first, $75 for second and $50 for third.
Vocal group winners included, first, Sawgrass Revival; second, Crain Family and third, Southern Blend.
String band winners include, first, Sawgrass Revival; second, Hwy. 99 and third, Pine City Bluegrass.
Dobro winners were, first, Steve Crain and second, Robert Bell.
Prize winners for the banjo were, first, Winky Hicks; second, Gary McMillan and third, Danny Lindsey. Winky Hicks granted Maisie Phillips with honorable mention for the banjo.
Guitar winners included, first, Scott Slay; second, Charles Carter and third, Will Fink.
The mandolin winners were first, Scott Slay; second Wayne Crain and third, Will Fink.
The second place fiddler won $200 and third won $100 and those prizes went to Adam Purvis for second and Frances Michaels for third. Each fiddler played a waltz and a breakdown and were limited to a maximum of two accompanists. Each fiddler was allowed five minutes per song.
The Rotary Club is already planning for next year's Fiddlers Convention scheduled for the third Saturday in July at 2 p.m.

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