Contest Rules


  1. REGISTRATION: Advance registration ($8.00) is accepted by mail or online until October 19, 2020. Registration ($10.00) is accepted from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 18, 2020 at our Registration Table at the Effingham Performance Center. All registrations must be complete by 12:30 pm. No registering is allowed after 12:30 p.m. Contestants who register in advance must STILL CHECK IN before 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, October 25, 2020 in order to be ready to draw for order of performance.
  2. NUMBER DRAWING: 12:30 to 12:45 p.m. OF ALL Divisions.
  3. NO ELECTRIC AMPLIFICATION. Contestants will play into a microphone.
  4. HOEDOWN & WALTZ: Contestant must play one danceable Hoedown tune and one danceable Waltz in each session. “Faded Love” and “Maiden’s Prayer” are not waltzes and therefore not allowed. Additionally, “Ashokan Farewell” is considered “too new” of a tune by most fiddle judges to be played in an “Old-Time Fiddle Contest” and is therefore not allowed (copyright 1983 by Jay Ungar, Swinging Door Music – BMI). No sheet music shall be displayed in the contesting area.
  5. TUNING: No cross-tuning, trick playing or novelty tunes played, such as “Black
    Mountain Rag”, “Listen to the Mockingbird” or “Orange Blossom Special.”
  6. BOWING: No “figure eight” or “hokum” bowing allowed on the original hoedown tune. If judges detect that a contestant has violated this rule, the contestant will forfeit all of their “Old-Time Fiddling Style” points.
  7. SIX MINUTE TIME LIMIT: Contestants will be limited to six minutes total to play both the hoedown and the waltz. The time will start with the first note and includes the time between the two songs. If contestant goes over the six minute time limit, 10 points will be deducted from their total score for every 20 seconds he/she goes over.
  8. ACCOMPANIST: Contestant can play with no accompanist or with no more than two.  A piano is unavailable so an electronic keyboard is allowed but must be provided by the accompanist.
  9. STATE RESIDENCE: Anyone with an established Illinois residency for at least one year immediately prior to the date of the contest is eligible to enter.
  10. Contestants may enter only one division at the start of the contest. The first place winner in “Beginning Fiddle”, “Junior” and “Over 70” Divisions may then also enter the “Open” Division. (Anyone may enter the “Open” Division if they choose, regardless of age, right from the start of the contest. Or you may feel you can win the smaller division and also the “Open” contest and go home with multiple awards. The choice is up to the individual.)
  11. JUDGING POINTS: 25 maximum points are awarded in each of these four areas: Fiddling Style, Danceability, Rhythm & Timing, and Tone Quality.
  12. PLAY-OFF OPEN DIVISION: In the “Open” division only, those with the top five highest scores from playing one hoedown and one waltz will be called back to play one tune of their choice. This tune must be different from the first two tunes played. “Figure eight” or “hokum” bowing technique will be allowed on this “Tune of Choice” only.
  13. REPORTING TO STAGE: All fiddlers must be backstage when their number is called and ready to play or they will be disqualified. Please be ready to perform.
  14. ORDER OF PLAY: 1) Over 70, 2) Beginning Fiddle (10 & under), 3) Junior (11 – 19), 4) Open
  15. OPENING TUNES: All fiddlers and accompanists are to be on stage at 12:50 p.m. to open the competition with the following tunes: Golden Slipper (Key G), Red Wing (Key G), Raggedy Ann (Key D).
  16. CALL-BACK: Judges can call back any fiddler as often as deemed necessary in order to make a proper decision.
  17. The decisions of the judges and competition committee will be final.