Fiddle contests are not just competitive events but a good excuse to spend time with friends and enjoy good music. For a list of scheduled contests and results, click the links below:
According to the TOTFA Bylaws (printable PDF):
The Texas Old Time Fiddlers Association shall maintain a list of standard contest rules and rules for becoming an Association Approved Contest and these contests are required to adopt these rules in order to remain Association Approved Contest. No person may compete in an Association Approved Contest unless they are a Musician Member.
The TOTFA Standard Contest Rules state (printable PDF):
- There shall be no entry fee.
- Contests will start at the advertised time. Failure to do so shall make the contest subject to review by Board of Directors before approval is granted the following year. A report stating the reason for the delay shall be filed by Judges of said contest.
- There shall be no "break" in any contest division for other types of entertainment.
- Only fiddler members or out-of-state fiddler members of the Texas Old Time Fiddlers Association shall be allowed to compete in an approved fiddlers contest. Exception: Annual Fiddlers' Reunion Contest.
- A drawing will be held for order of play prior to contest division.
- A contestant shall be allowed to register until the drawing in his division has begun.
- When a contestant is called to play he shall have three minutes to report to the stage with fiddle in tune and ready to play. Failure to do so, with accompanists ready, shall constitute automatic disqualification.
- No tune shall be prohibited.
- No contestant shall play the same tune twice during any contest, including playoffs, championships, etc. Exception: When winner is challenging a current champion who does not have to compete in preliminaries.
- A fiddler will be allowed up to four accompanists. Any stringed instrument is acceptable as backup.
- A fiddler breaking any rule of the contest shall be disqualified.
- Amplified instruments shall be regulated by the judges.
- Judges shall have complete control of contest results.
- Judges shall sign each score sheet. Judges shall score each tune 70 to 100 points The Head Judge shall tally the score sheets and be approved by the other Judges. Judges must agree by a majority on the winners; any judge may call for a play-off.
- The Head Judge may select a replacement Judge in an emergency.
- Judges shall approve all recording equipment. No recording made during any contest by any party shall be offered for sale in any form without the written permission of the Association and the contestant involved.
- A contestant's scores from a contest shall be available from the Association for a fee of $ 1.00 and a period of one year. Contestant scores will be posted for viewing at contest immediately following each division. Scores will remain posted for at least thirty minutes except for the last division played which will remain posted for a minimum of fifteen minutes. Score sheets for one entire division are available for $5.00.
- Any complaints by a contestant on the outcome of a contest shall be written, signed, and directed to the Association and not to the contest sponsors.
- A contestant may not enter both the fiddle and accompanist contest.
- A contestant must play all tunes unassisted to qualify for Youngest Fiddler Award.
Below are the rules for becoming a TOTFA Approved Contest (printable PDF):
- File application for approval with the Association forty-five days in advance of the contest date. (Forms will be provided.)
- If an admission fee is charged, officials of TOTFA may negotiate for a percentage of that fee to be returned to the Association.
- Provide Association approved contest judges.
- Judges will be furnished by the Association upon request but contests must deposit funds in advance with the Association to cover costs and judges fees. Judges shall be selected by one of the Board of Directors, which will be coordinated by the President in a rotation through the Board of Directors; i.e. each Director will select the judges for every 6th contest. If the assigned Director is unable to select the judges, the assigned Director can appoint any person of their choice to select judges.
- Contests may obtain judges on their own from the Approved Contest Judges List.
- Contests may submit names not on the Approved Contest Judges List for approval.
- Contests may select persons from one division to serve as judges for another division as long as they are on the Approved Judges List.
- Adopt and follow the Standard Contest Rules.
- File a report with the Association within ten days following the contest including the following data.
- Names of all contestants in each division.
- Names of all winners in each division.
- Prize money awarded each winner.
- Names of judges.
- Score sheets of judges.