Young contender defeats veteran in fiddle contest

Tyson Samples, 18, plays one of the winning tunes at the Wallowa County Old Time Fiddlers contest. (Photo by Kim Lamb).

It was double the fun for Tyson Samples of Joseph at the Wallowa County Old Time Fiddlers

Contest last weekend. Samples, 18, narrowly squeaked past veteran fiddler, Charlie Trump, 84, in both divisions where they met bow to bow.

Trump has reigned as Wallowa County's champion for many years, but clearly delighted to have Samples take first place. "It's about time he beat me," he told his wife, Nancy.

Samples, who has competed in fiddle contests since he was 6, grew up listening to Trump play fiddle and learned a lot of tunes from him. In fact the young musician, during the weekend contest, was playing a fiddle given to him many years ago by Trump.

There was a one-point difference in the Wallowa County Open Contest Friday night, and a three point difference in the Championship division during the Saturday finals. Trump struggled momentarily to begin his waltz, and may have lost a point or two there.

It was double trouble for small fry contestants Sophia Apgar, 8, of West Richland, Wash., and Hugh Donovan, 9, of Enterprise when it was discovered they had tied for first place. A tie is an unusual, though not unheard of, event in fiddling contests. The contestants choose whether they will play off in a hoe down, waltz, or a tune of choice, then each may select a tune from that category. Apgar emerged the winner after the playoff.

Canyon City can boast two winners as Ben Schaefer, 12, repeated as champion in the Junior-Junior Division, while sister Amanda, 17, finished first in the Junior Division.

This year's judges were Willie Carter, Lebanon; Clyde Clymer, formerly from Idaho, now living in Vancouver, Wash.; and Jim Herd, Sunnyside, Wash.

A complete list of 2002 winners follows:

Wallowa County Juniors - 1st, Jared Zwanziger, Enterprise; 2nd, Hannah Zwanziger, Enterprise; 3rd, Grace Donovan, Enterprise; 4th, Hugh Donovan, Enterprise.

Wallowa County Open - 1st, Tyson Samples, Joseph; 2nd, Charles Trump, Wallowa; 3rd, Len Samples, Joseph; 4th, Allen Schnetzky, Flora.

Seniors - 1st, Ruel Teague, Burns; 2nd, Jack Cogburn, La Grande; 3rd, Don Norton, Imnaha;

4th, Helen Rost, La Grande; 5th, John Kusske, Othello, Wash.; 6th, Joyce Erickson, Grangeville, Idaho.

Small Fry - 1st, Sophia Apgar, 8, West Richland, Wash.; 2nd, Hugh Donovan, 9, Enterprise; 3rd, Jonathan Mattes, 9, La Grande; 4th, Gabriel Davis, 8, Pullman, Wash.

Junior-Junior - 1st, Ben Schaefer, 12, Canyon City; 2nd, Jared Zwanziger, 13, Enterprise; 3rd, Tiffany Williams, 11, Pasco, Wash.; 4th, Grace Donovan, 11, Enterprise; 5th, Chase Apgar, 11, Pasco; 6th, Hannah Zwanziger, 10, Enterprise; 7th, Bethany Davis, 11, Pullman, Wash.

Junior - 1st, Amanda Schaefer, 17, Canyon City; 2nd, Anna Snook, 14, La Grande.

Intermediate - 1st, Jesse Jones, La Grande.

Open - 1st, Lacey Kay Wilson, Imbler; 2nd, Kathy Apgar, Pasco.

Championship - 1st, Tyson Samples, Joseph; 2nd, Charles Trump, Wallowa; 3rd, Marie Hardesty, Pasco; 4th, Bern Youngblood, La Grande; 5th, Matt West, Kennewick, Wash.; 6th, Cheryl Hall, Yakima, Wash.; 7th, Kent Craig, Weiser, Idaho.

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