Georgia Rae of Richmond, Ill., was named the 2013 Grand Champion at the Illinois State Old Time Fiddler's Contest on Oct 20 in Effingham, Ill.
This is the same contest won by Allison Krause who also won the title as a teen. The win enters her in the National Old Time Fiddler's Contest in Weiser, Idaho in June www.fiddlecontest.org.
Weiser began sponsoring the annual contest in 1953 and it has become one of the most prestigious fiddler contests held. Each contestant plays three tunes; a hoedown, a waltz, and a tune of choice (something other than a waltz or hoedown). At Weiser, competing in all of the playoffs to win the championship takes six rounds and eighteen tunes.
Georgia Rae's family is setting up a GoFundMe account to get Georgia Rae and her family band, Georgia Rae Family Band, to Idaho. The generous donations from friends and fans via GoFundMe helped get Georgia Rae and her family to Effingham for the annual contest, along with Georgia Rae's fiddle teacher, Shawn Drake.
Georgia Rae has been preparing for this years contest, and a try at the Grand National Old Time Fiddler's Contest in Weiser, Idaho since she graduated from the Nippersink Middle School last year. It was also the same year Georgia placed 2nd to master fiddler, Charlie Walden of Evanston, IL at the 2012 state contest.
"We had to think outside the box to get her to where she is today, and where she continues to go from here," said Roni Mussared, Georgia Rae's mom who has been accompanying Georgia Rae on the guitar since she began playing the fiddle at age 5. "It started with adjusting her life around practice time spread throughout the day. She attends Richmond Burton High School as a part time student for Math and Science, and gets the rest at home, and she has an excellent teacher who is willing to invest in the dream too." Shawn Drake of Pleasant Prairie, WI, has been Georgia Rae's teacher for the past 2 years. "It is amazing to see how she has developed under his instruction. Those two think alike and it works well."
At the Effingham contest, Georgia Rae wore a shirt that read, Dream It, Do it. "Now I have to plan a trip that is nearly 2000 miles away, " said Mussared, who is a little overwhelmed. "I am not sure how we are going to get there yet. It all starts with a dream."