85-Year Old Claims Top Prize At “Peabody Hale Fiddle Contest


     The second-oldest competitor claimed the top prize Saturday at the 58th Annual Peabody Hale Fiddle Contest in Crawford, which attracted contestants from 3 states ranging in age from 15 to 86.

        85-year old Vern Billingsly of Mitchell won the Senior Fiddle Division, then topped the other division winners for the trophy.

      Winning in Junior Fiddle was Lillian Hudnall of Columbus, NE, while Adult Fiddle honors went to Glenda Lee Burgess of Ashby, and guitarist John Branch of Hot Springs in Miscellaneous. Top vocalist was Mike Goodrich of Greeley, NE.

        Contest spokesman Marietta Moffatt says organizers were thrilled by the number of spectators who turned out and supported the event with free will donations, which replaced an admission fee this year.

       Moffatt says a lot of thanks go out to Renae and Jack Jones of the Boots and Saddles Band, who provided entertainment and acted as MC for the day, and to those who donated the trophies.

        The family of Dora and contest founder and namesake Ellis “Peabody” Hale gave the trophies for the 3 fiddle winners, Betty Moffat donated the Vocal and Miscellaneous trophies, and the Horseshoe trophies came from Frank Richardson.

2021 Peabody Hale Winners:  

Vocal  Contest

1st Place — Mike Goodrich — Greeley, NE

2nd Place- Renae Tollman -Jones – Crawford, NE

3rd Place – Marvin Jones – Crawford, NE

Junior Fiddle Division

1st Place – Lillian Hudnall – Columbus, NE

Adult Fiddle Division

1st Place – Glenda Lee Burgess – Ashby, NE

2nd Place – Renae Tollman -Jones – Crawford, NE

Senior Fiddle Division

1st Place – Vern Billingsly – Mitchell, NE

2nd Place — Dave Curtis – Mitchell, NE

Miscellaneous Division

1st Place – John Branch – Guitar—Hot Springs, SD

2nd Place – Deborah Horst – Mandolin – Crawford, NE

3rd Place – Marvin Jones – Guitar — Crawford, NE

Overall Winner

86-year-old Vern Billingsly – Mitchell, NE

1 thought on “85-Year Old Claims Top Prize At “Peabody Hale Fiddle Contest”

  1. Vern played the fiddle like it was a third hand. I haven’t heard such good fiddle playing for a long time! Congratulations to Mr. Billingsly!

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