Caleb Samples, 22, Joseph, playing the fiddle given to him by Charlie Trump many years ago, outfiddled everyone at the Wallowa County Old Time Fiddlers Contest June 6 and 7. The judges thought Caleb's talent and the fiddle were the best they'd heard for a while, so awarded him enough points in two divisions to handily beat out everyone else. Samples succeeds as champion his younger brother Tyson Samples, who chose not to play in the contest this year.
Charlie Trump placed second in the county division Friday night, repeating last year's finish, but couldn't quite hold on to that position for the championship Saturday, placing third behind Caleb Samples and Lacey Kay Wilson of Imbler.
Mel Byers, who placed fourth in both his divisions, said "I'm just playing for fun because I don't think I have a chance against those two (referring to Samples and Trump)."
Grace Donovan, 12, Enterprise, was the winner of the Wallowa County juniors division Friday, and placed 3rd in the junior-junior divisiont the next day.
There were 15 new faces this year to add a little spice to the competition. A family from Pilot Rock had four fiddlers in their first contest here, while Sharon Wolfe, currently living in Clarkston, Wash., returned after a 10 year absence. She said she came to hear Brooks Wormsbaker play, but ended up competing herself. She placed first in her division while Wormsbaker placed second in his. Another returnee was Tim Kiesecker who placed third in the County Open behind Samples and Trump.
Plenty of appreciation and applause was handed out to Tyler Kalebaugh, age 4, Terrebonne,who played the one tune he knew for both rounds.
Two young Haddock boys from Pilot Rock competed against each other in the Small Fry division. When trophies were handed out, the 8-year-old turned to his brother, who is 6, grinned, thumped him on the shoulder, and said, "You beat me out. Good for you!" Sister Kodria, age 10, finished 5th in her division.
A complete roster of winners at the fiddle contest follows:
County Juniors: 1st, Grace Donovan, Enterprise; 2nd, Jared Zwanziger, Enterprise; 3rd, Anna Hurley, Joseph; 4th, Hannah Zwanziger, Enterprise; 5th, Hanna Schaafsma, Joseph.
County Open: 1st, Caleb Samples, Joseph; 2nd, Charles Trump, Wallowa; 3rd, Tim Kiesecker, Enterprise; 4th, Mel Byers, Wallowa.
Seniors: 1st, Willie Carter, Lebanon; 2nd, Jack Cogburn, La Grande; 3rd, Helen Rost, La Grande; 4th, Joyce Erikson, Grangeville, Idaho.
Small Fry: 1st, Joe Haddock, age 6, Pilot Rock; 2nd, Ben Haddock, age 8, Pilot Rock; 3rd, Hanna Schaafsma, age 7, Joseph; and 4th, Tyler Kalebaugh, age 4, Terrebonne.
Junior Junior: 1st, Rachel Kalebaugh, age 13, Terrebonne; 2nd, Brooks Wormsbaker, age 11, Lewiston, Idaho; 3rd, Grace Donovan, age 12, Enterprise; 4th, Brianna Huitt, age 13, Union; 5th, Kodria Haddock, age 10, Pilot Rock. Others finishing were Hannah Zwanziger, age 11, Enterprise; Jessie Brazil, age 11, Cove; and Ian McAllister, age 13, La Grande.
Junior: 1st, Anna Snook, age 15, La Grande; 2nd, Jared Zwanziger, age 14, Enterprise; 3rd, Ivy Kerns, age 14, Haines.
Intermediate: 1st, Carla Arnold, La Grande; 2nd, Steve Haddock, Pilot Rock; 3rd, Julia Milleson, Hines; 4th, Delma Bracken, Union.
Open: 1st, Sharon Wolfe, Clarkston, Wash.; 2nd, Peg Willis, Pendleton.
Championship: 1st, Caleb Samples; 2nd, Lacey Kay Wilson, Imbler; 3rd, Charles Trump, Wallowa; 4th, Mel Byers, Wallowa.