Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2007 • Local fiddler finishes high in second largest U.S. fiddle contest

Janesville fiddler Tallon Sandoval placed in the top 20 of the 25th anniversary of the Western Open Fiddle Championship.

The event, second largest fiddle contest in the United States, took place Thursday, Oct. 25, in Red Bluff, California.

Tallon Sandoval

Sandoval, the second-place winner in the 2007 Junior Twin Fiddle California State Championships, performed in two divisions at the Western Open.

His first performance was the Junior-Junior Division. Sandoval competed against 30 other contestants who were 12 years old and under. He took 13th overall.

Some of Sandoval’s competitors included the current Junior-Junior National Champion and the third-ranked National Champion.

Sandoval played “Blackberry Blossom,” “Shamus O’Brien” and “Drowsy Maggie” for his performances with Monte Millard and Lee Brushett as accompanists.

He next performed in the Junior Twin Fiddle Contest with former Janesville resident, Tori May Gilliam, who now resides in Clovis, California. The duo placed fifth and received the Western Open Fiddle medals for their performance.

The junior twin contest was open to all young adults 17 years of age and under. The duo played “Shamus O’Brien” and “In the Mood” with Milliard and Burshett as accompanists.

Each contestant must play a hoedown, a waltz and a tune of choice and he or she is judged on each piece. Under the control of the master of ceremonies, only the music and contestant’s number are piped to a remote room where eight qualified judges make their decisions based on old-time fiddling ability, clarity and trueness of tone, rhythm, intonation of notes and difficulty. All scores were cumulative and the highest scores determine the winner.

Sandoval said he wants to compete in at least four more competitions before the National Championships held in Weiser, Idaho in June 2008. He said he hopes to compete in the California State Old Time Fiddler Association District 6 contests, the Cloverdale Old Time Fiddle Festival, Redding Amateur Fiddle Contest and the California State Championship contests in Oroville, California.