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Former champion reclaims fiddling title

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
April 18, 2011 at 4 p.m.
Updated April 17, 2011 at 11:18 p.m.

Carl Hopkins, of Porter, won the Texas State Championship fiddle contest Sunday at the Fiddlers' Frolics in Hallettsville. In addition to a $1,500 prize, Hopkins will compete in the Grand Master Fiddling Championship in Nashville in the fall.

HALLETTSVILLE - The finals of the 2011 Texas State Championship Fiddlers' contest featured an all-star lineup.

Defending champion Wes Westmoreland, of Temple, former two-time champion Carl Hopkins, of Porter, and 2009 Gone to Texas winner and 2010 state champion runner-up Bubba Hopkins, of Burleson, went bow to bow Sunday in a round-robin playoff of five songs each.

The Cliff and Velda Fryer Texas State Championship playoff included - determined by the random turn of a domino - a polka, reel, swing, rag and hornpipe.

When the resin had settled, Carl Hopkins, the 1996 and 1997 champion, regained the crown during the 40th annual Fiddlers' Frolics.

"I don't really know what to say. I know I had a heck of a good time up here. It was really fun," Hopkins said after the announcement and presentation of a $1,500 check. "You guys make me feel at home here every year. You're fantastic people."

In addition to the cash prize, Hopkins won a Texas State Champion belt buckle, a plaque and an invitation to the Grand Master Fiddling Championship in Nashville in the fall.

Westmoreland took home $1,250 and Bubba Hopkins, $1,000.

Carl wasn't the only Hopkins to go home a winner. His father, E.J. Hopkins, won the senior division and his son, Hyatt Hopkins, took top honors among youth accompanists.

Hyatt's father had some words of praise.

"I want to thank all these guitar pickers up here, especially my son. I am real proud of him," Carl Hopkins said. "Maybe that's what all you fiddle players should do, have kids and teach them to play the guitar."

Victoria's Paul Prater, 96, finished fourth and Dan Jasek, 79, of Moulton, placed eighth in the senior division. Victorian Bonnie Riley placed 19th in the state championship division.



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