September News

Hello TOTFA membership! The end of summer is approaching and we have a few contests for you over the next couple of months. August is over, but it did not end nicely. We had a total eclipse, and a massive catastrophic hurricane as well. I know that some of our members have been displaced, and have received everything from minor damage like fallen trees, all the way up to severe damages by winds and flooding to their entire homes.

I want everyone to know that our thoughts and prayers have been with you during this terrible time. I also could not be more proud of the fellowship of our sister states, the neighbors all around the state, and the complete strangers that have put differences aside and taken time to come out and help with the relief efforts after Hurricane Harvey. This is an absolute catastrophe, but I know we will continue through and do our best.

On a more positive note, we have a great, long-standing contest next week on September 8th. The Johnson County Pioneer & Old Settlers Reunion falls this week and next week. This year makes the 125th year that they have held a reunion, and Johnson County is making this a big shindig. I hope all of you can take some time to come up. Alvarado is a small town that I have previously called home, and is conveniently located on I-35W just south of Fort Worth. You can blink your eyes and miss it, but they are pulling out all the stops in this little Texas town.

This is going to be a full 7 days of activities. Beginning a week before the contest, on Sept. 2nd, they are starting off with a parade, dancing-horse show, (yes dancing horses) and celebrity goat dressing contest. Saturday night, Sept. 3rd, Texas Country artist, Austin Allsup is headlining the show. The next week will consist of mutton busting, gospel music, baby contest, bar-b-que cook-off and bake-off, Johnson County Queen contest. Carnival Rides begin on Wednesday, Sept 6th at 6pm.

The Fiddle Contest is on Friday, Sept.8th with Registration at 6pm, and contest starting at 7pm. There has been an upgrade to the sound system this year, and it should make for a much better attraction for such a great audience that turns out every year. The reunion will end on Saturday, Sept. 9th with an Arts and Craft show and vendors, car show, and chuck wagon demonstration. The finale the celebration is a free concert from our very own Texas staple, Asleep at the Wheel beginning Saturday, Sept.9th at 7:30pm-9pm. The TOTFA fiddle contest payouts and divisions are listed on page 5 of the September newsletter.

In September, we have a long-running contest not sanctioned by TOTFA, in Crockett, Texas. The World Championship Fiddlers Festival will be held Sept.23rd and they will be honoring the Solomon family and Mr. Bobby Christman this year. Just a reminder that they adjusted the dates a couple months ago, so if you had reservations at the local hotels, please call them and make your adjustments if needed. More information on page 6 of the September newsletter.

On October 7th, we have the Bowie Chicken and Bread Days Fiddle Contest in Bowie, Texas. This has been a staple in the TOTFA scene for as long as I can remember. The weather is always great and the community comes out to show their support. There is a car show, antique malls on the square, and many vendors and craft booths. Check the website for more info on prizes and placings.

I spoke this week with Mr. Jesse Roy Hart who has always helped us get the Sequin contest going. This fiddle contest will be on October 14th and is one of the only ones we have left in the area and it has been running for 36 years!!!! This is a great contest that runs in conjunction with the Guadalupe County Fair, so you can be assured that the kids and family will have plenty to do during the day. We would love to see some support.

If you are a teacher or have a contest that you coordinate or assist with and would like to discuss placing an advertisement in “The Texas Fiddler” newsletter delivered to the membership, please give any of your directors a call (our contact information is listed at the bottom of page 8).

We have different options for sizes of ads, and prices. I have listed them on the top of page 9. We all share the love of music, so let us share the wealth and let each other know about all of our different opportunities. Remember!! In this age of electronics, we still have members who are interested in learning and other musical opportunities, but do not participate in social media. The Fiddler Newsletter is a traditional, yet fantastic avenue to get the word out.
I also am looking for any fundraising ideas or venues to have a TOTFA benefit. Give us a call if you know any places that won’t break the bank.

Thank you for all of your memberships and every bit of support you give to your friends, fellow musicians, and neighbors!!!

~~Jordan Bankston, TOTFA President~~

TOTFA, By The Numbers

TOTFA currently has 146 members
Bank balance, as of March 5: $4,688.97

The Devil's Box

The Devil's Box available for purchase here!The Devil's Box is a fast paced jam-packed look at the world of contest fiddling. Every year contestants from all over the United States flock to the town of Hallettsville, Texas, to compete for the title of best Texas-style fiddler. Featuring performances from some of the greatest legends of American roots music, The Devil’s Box explores the beginnings of the art form and showcases the rising talents that will dominate the traditional music scene for years to come. The Devil’s Box is an instant classic, filled with fantastic music and great family fun. The 3-disc set includes:

Disc 1: The Devil's Box documentary, an 84-minute look at the world of contest fiddling and all of the major players involved. Bonus features include an extended history section of Texas-style, a four-minute movie of the Hallettsville Bar-BQ Cook-Off, Song Writers Serenade featurette, and an interview with the director Jason Hammond and producer Beth Jasper

Disc 2: The Devil's Box Bonus Disc features 42 complete fiddle tunes played by contestants from around the country as well as performances by Larry Franklin, Texas Shorty, and many, many more.

Disc 3 The Lost Benny Thomasson Tapes: This disc is a wonderful hour-long interview with the master himself, Benny Thomasson. Benny tells the story of Texas-style as only he knows it and plays 19 tunes like only he can. This interview from 1976 has been cleaned up and remastered and is the ideal tutorial for any fiddler who wants to hear the tunes exactly as Benny played them and learn some fascinating fiddle history along the way.

To buy the 3-disc set, click the "Buy Now" button below. You may pay with a credit card or a PayPal account. Thank you for your support! And spread the word about The Devil's Box - the happy documentary!


March 31-April 2: Llano
April 21-23: Hallettsville*
May 6: Groesbeck
May 27: Athens*
August 25-27: Branson*
September 8: Alvarado
September 23: Crockett*
October 7: Bowie
October 14: Seguin
October 14-15: Greenville*
October 21: Gilmer
November 11: Glen Rose

*non-association contest

Out-of-State Contests

August 25-27: Branson, MO
August 28-29: Fayette, AL


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Want to contact The Texas Fiddler newsletter? Email:

You can also mail content through the postal service by sending to:

TOTFA Newsletter
c/o John Crawford
277 Diamond Ln N
Burleson, TX 76028-6729


That you can now pay your TOTFA dues online? Check out our membership page.

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That TOTFA members receive the monthly newsletter by email or USPS by the 1st of each month and that the web site newsletters are posted with a month's delay?

That the TOTFA newsletters contain additional information about contests, birthdays, photos, teacher information, transcriptions, etc.?

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