Driver Family Pays Tribute to Fiddlers Jamboree Founders (View Video Here)

July 4, 2022
By: Dwayne Page

The Mount Rushmore of Smithville!

Founders of the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival have been honored with a special tribute commissioned by family of the late James G. “Bobo” Driver.

Members of the Driver family gathered on stage of the Fiddlers Jamboree Saturday afternoon for the public unveiling of a bronze casting marker as a lasting memorial to Congressman Joe L. Evins and his friends and colleagues Berry C. Williams and James G. “Bobo” Driver, who established the festival in 1972. The marker will be placed on the grounds of the courthouse.

Congressman Evins, a native of DeKalb County and resident of Smithville, was first elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1946 and served 30 years and 15 terms until his retirement. The festival began as an idea of Congressman Evins and his close friends Williams, the first Jamboree event organizer, and Driver who helped plan, prepare, and promote the first Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival July 1-2, 1972 on a stage built on the steps of the DeKalb County Courthouse. A total of 714 musicians from 16 states flocked to Smithville with an audience of approximately 8,000 people that first year.

To help get the Jamboree started Driver, who in the 1930s, 40s, and 50s had bands of his own, sent out hundreds of letters to country music performers and supporters whom he had met during his musical career. He asked them to perform and be recognized for carrying on traditional country music. He particularly wanted young performers to be rewarded for their talent and efforts. Bobo helped with the Jamboree for almost 20 years as the Registrar. He was particularly interested in recognizing the talent and efforts of young performers of traditional country and bluegrass music. The Jamboree’s National Championship Country Musician Beginners Award is named in his honor. In 1993, the Jamboree was dedicated to Mr. Driver. The Board of Directors also named the James G. (Bobo) Driver memorial trophy to be presented to the winner of the National Champion of Country Musician Beginners which continues today.

The Fiddlers Jamboree lost these three pioneers of the festival beginning with Williams who passed away in 1976, Congressman Evins in 1984, and Driver in 1992 but their legacy lives on.

Goebel and Currie Battle for the Grand Champion Fiddling Title at Jamboree (View Videos Here)

July 3, 2022
By: Dwayne Page

Junior Fiddler Noah Goebel of Elkton, Kentucky and Senior Fiddler Heather Brown Currie faced each other in the Grand Finale Fiddle-Off at the 51st Annual Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival Saturday night.

Goebel was crowned Champion.

View performances of each contestant in the Fiddle-Off below as well as the Square Dancing Champion Rocky Top Revue

13-Year-old Kentucky Boy Wins Grand Champion Fiddle-Off at Jamboree

July 2, 2022
By: Dwayne Page

13-year-old Noah Goebel has claimed the Grand Champion Fiddling Title at the 51st edition of the Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree and Crafts Festival.

The Elkton, Kentucky resident, who also won the Junior Fiddling contest here Saturday night, beat out the Senior Fiddling Champion Heather Brown Currie of Springfield in the showdown for the Berry C. Williams Memorial Award. Currie claimed the Grand Champion Fiddling Title in 1999 and 2001.

As the 2022 Grand Fiddle Off Champion, Goebel will be invited by the Grand Ole Opry to play a ‘fiddle tune’ for the Opry square dancers’ LIVE performance during a selected show TBA.

Only last year, Goebel competed as a child in the Fiddlers Jamboree’s National Championship for Country Musician Beginners and won the Beginners Fiddling Title.

This is the 11th year in a row (not counting the 2020 virtual jamboree) that a Junior Fiddler has beaten the Senior Fiddler for the Grand Championship of the Festival.

Sam Stout, President and Coordinator of the Fiddlers Jamboree presented the award to Goebel at the conclusion of the festival which ended at 11: 30 p.m. Saturday evening.

By winning the Junior fiddling contest, Goebel edged out two other competitors for a right to advance to the fiddle-off.

Winners in the Saturday session of the Fiddler’s Jamboree are as follows:

Junior Old-Time Appalachian Flatfoot Dance (Ages up to 39): First Place- Jacob Fennell of Dickson; Second Place- Treble Chunn of Greenbrier; and Third Place Matthew Campbell of McMinnville.

Senior Old-Time Appalachian Flatfoot Dance (Ages 40 & Over): First Place- Bridget Esterhuizen of Murphy, North Carolina; Second Place- Anthony Harrell of Mount Juliet; and Third Place- Tim Hartman of Lyles.

Senior Buck Dancing (Ages 40 & Over): First Place-Ben Heithcock of College Grove; Second Place-Tammy Scruggs of Lebanon; and Third Place- Anthony Harrell of Mount Juliet.

Senior Clogging (Ages 40 & Over): First Place-Ben Heithcock of College Grove; Second Place-Tammy Scruggs of Lebanon; and Third Place- Anthony Harrell of Mount Juliet.

Bluegrass Banjo: First Place-Trenton Tater Caruthers of Cookeville; Second Place- Axel Rico of Smithville; and Third Place-Noah Goebel of Elkton, Kentucky

Junior Fiddlers (Ages 13-39): First Place-Noah Goebel of Elkton, Kentucky; Second Place- Tyler Andal of Nashville; and Third Place-Trenton Tater Caruthers of Cookeville

Flat Top Guitar: First Place- Tylar Andal of Nashville; Second Place-Noah Goebel of Elkton, Kentucky; and Third Place-Brock Ealey of Cookeville.

Contest Fiddle (Neil Dudney Memorial Award): First Place- Justin Branum of Murfreesboro; Second Place-Noah Goebel of Elkton, Kentucky; and Third Place- Tyler Andal of Nashville. The Neil Dudney Award was presented to Branum by Dudney’s daughter Janet England and two of his grandchildren, Ethan and Brandon Shaw. Dudney, who passed away in October, 2018 served as President and Coordinator of the Fiddlers Jamboree for 16 years until he stepped down in 2008.

Bluegrass Band: First Place-Mountain Cove Bluegrass Band of Chattanooga; Second Place-Clearview of Hilham; and Third Place-J.D. and the No Crowes of Rockvale

Senior Fiddlers ( Ages 40 & Over): First Place- Heather Brown Currie of Springfield; Second Place-Sarah Harris of Rockvale; and Third Place- Billy Gene Hazlewood of Spring Hill

Square Dancing: First Place-Rocky Top Revue of Franklin; Second Place- Step Aside of Dickson; and Third Place- Tennessee Dance Alliance of Mount Juliet

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