Former champion reclaims fiddling title

  • MORE 2011 FIDDLIN' WINNERS

    Gone To Texas (out-of-state)

    Jacie Sites, Idaho Falls, Idaho

    Senior Division

    E.J. Hopkins, 81, Porter

    Freshmen (15 & under)

    River Lee, 9, Springdale, Ark.

    Accompanist

    Ray Franklin, Marion

    Youth Accompanist

    Hyatt Hopkins, Porter

  • NATIONAL CONTEST

    In addition to Texas, fiddlers came to Hallettsville's 40th annual Fiddlers' Frolics from 10 other states: Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Idaho, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon and Tennessee.

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.