August 27th & 28th

Please Wear a Mask!

For the sake of all our "at-risk" members please be courteous and wear your mask while indoors at the contest. Thank You!

Pioneer Event Center

102 East Helena Street

Dillon, MT 


Join us August 27th and 28th in Dillon, MT for our annual

Montana State Fiddle Contest!


This years contest is being Co-Hosted by the Dillon Junior Fiddlers and we're excited for the new location in Dillon at the Pioneer Event Center. This is a newly renovated space that has lots of room and amenities. 

We will be having all our regular age divisions in addition to a Junior and Adult Picking division, Twin Fiddle, Dance Fiddle, Entertainment Division (be sure and have a good costume or schtick), Accompanist, Oldest and Youngest Fiddler, Novice, and our now infamous Gambler's Division. 

Food and beverage will be available at the venue in addition to all the great local restaurants in downtown Dillon. There is free dry camping available in the parking lot of the venue or stay at one of the many hotels that Dillon has to offer. 

Make sure you pre-register to reserve your spot and get a free contest T-Shirt!

We look forward to seeing everyone and hearing some great fiddling. 


Check back for updates on Hotel sponsors, Judges information, and schedule information.  




2021 Schedule

All times are tentative and subject to change. Contestants should be onsite and available on the day of their division. 

Friday August 27th

4:00 PM    Registration

6:00 PM     Judges Introduction, Meeting and Performance

7:00 PM     Contest Starts

                                              Twin Fiddle Round 1, Dance Fiddle, Twin Fiddle Round 2, Championship Round 1


Saturday August 28th

8:00 AM   Registration

9:00 AM   Contest Starts

                                          Round 1 PeeWee, Junior Junior, Junior, Adult, Senior

12-1:00      Lunch Break

1:00            Contest Resumes

                                          Novice, Finals PeeWee, Junior Junior, Junior, Adult, and Senior. 

                                          Junior Picking, Adult Picking, Gamblers Division, Awards for Novice, PeeWee, Jr. Jr.,

                                          Junior, Adult, Junior and Adult Picking Divisions.

6:00           Dillon Junior Fiddlers Performance

6:30            Judges Perform

7:00           Contest Finals

                                          Championship Round 2, Picking Winners, Entertainment Division, Championship Round 3, Twin Fiddler Winners

                                          Awards: Oldest and Youngest Fiddler, Entertainment, Accompanist, Championship



Contest Divisions

Peewee (8 and under)

Junior Junior (9-12)

Junior (13-17)

Adult (18-59)

Senior (60 and up)

Novice (18 and up)

Championship (open to all)

Jackpot Dance Fiddle** (open to all)

Jackpot Twin Fiddle** (open to all)

Jackpot Gamblers** (open to all)

Jackpot No Holds Barred/ Entertainment** (open to all)

Accompanist* (open to all)

Jr. Picking (18 and under)

Picking (18 and over) 


*Accompanists who are not competing in the fiddle competition must be registered to be eligible for an accompanist award 

**Winner takes all in jackpot divisions


Prize Money and Awards

Division           1st              2nd             3rd          4th         5th   

PeeWee          $100          $75             $50         $25        $15

Jr. Jr.               $100          $75             $50         $25        $15

Junior             $100          $75             $50         $25        $15

Adult               $100          $75             $50         $25        $15

Senior             $100          $75             $50         $25        $15

Novice            $50            $40            $30         $20        $10    

Accomp.        $150          $100          $75          $50        $25    (placement will be based on number of times on stage)

Jr. Picking.    $50            $40            $30         $20        $10

Picking.          $50            $40            $30         $20        $10    

Champion.    $300        $200           $100        $75        $50


Entertainment /No Holds Barred Jackpot (winner takes all)

Gamblers Jackpot (winner takes all)

Dance Fiddle Jackpot (winner takes all)

Twin Fiddle Jackpot (winners take all)



Awards for youngest and oldest. Trophies will be awarded for the top five in each age category and for the winners of all other divisions. 


Contest Rules

The following rules apply to the competition. 

The contest is open to all fiddlers. 

Accompanists must be registered, either as an accompanist or as a contestant, to be eligible for the top accompanist awards. 

Contestants may enter only one division in the fiddle competition.   Enrollment in the Dance Fiddle, Twin Fiddling, Gamblers, Picking, and Novelty divisions is unlimited. 

Contestants in the fiddle competitions mush play a hoedown, waltz, and tune of choice (other than hoedown or waltz).  Any tune may only be played once in the contest.

Contestants in the picking division must play one slow tune and one fast. There will be two rounds. Tunes may not be repeated by the same contestant. Contestants will be judges on accuracy, timing, difficulty, and musicality. 

Contestants in the twin fiddling division must play one slow tune and one fast tune. There will be two rounds. Tunes may not be repeated by the same contestants. Twin fiddling will be judged on appropriate use of harmony notes, number of harmonies, difficulty, and synchronization between the fiddlers.  

Contestants in the No Holds Barred/ Entertainment category will perform one musical selection. They will be judged on musical ability, entertainment, crowd involvement, and costume. 

Contestants in the Dance Fiddling must play a fast tune suitable for a square or contra style dance, a waltz, and another style of dance tune (polka, jig, schottische, polska, hornpipe, etc). The fiddler will be judged on danceability and musicality. 

Contestants in the Gamblers division will draw a tune from the hat prior to the first round. Contestants may draw a second song if they don't know the first. Contestants will then perform the drawn song to the best of their ability. Judges will determine if the fiddler successfully performs the drawn song. The second round will be drawn on stage and performed immediately. Contestants will be eliminated if they are unable to perform the drawn tune. Last fiddler standing wins!

A time limit of 4 minutes in each round is recommended, but rounds are not timed.Judges will score down for excessively long tunes that are played with no variation in successive iterations of the tune. 

Competitors may use up to three accompanists. 

Competitors and accompanists may use only acoustic instruments with no amplification other than the sound system.  The only exception is that electronic keyboards may be used if an acoustic piano is not available. 

Judges will award up to 100 points for each tune.  Judges will take danceability, oldtime style, intonation, and timing in to consideration when determining their score. 

If the fiddler or an accompanist breaks a string or has any other unavoidable equipment malfunction, he/she has three options.  First, he/she may stop playing within a reasonable period of time and then start playing that tune again when the malfunction is fixed.  Second, he/she may continue playing until that tune is finished and fixed.  Third, he/she may continue to play through the end of the round. 

Fiddlers in the Novice division must be 18 years of age or older, mush have been playing the fiddle for less than 2 years, and cannot have competed in a prior Montana State Fiddle Contest. 

Any fiddler who wins a given division 3 years consecutively may not play in that division the next year.  The options open to the fiddler are (i) register in an appropriate higher division, judge the fiddle contest, or just sit out for one year. 

The following rules apply to all competitions at the Montana State Fiddle Contest: 

Any protests must be made in writing and submitted to the President of the MSOTFA.  Petitions must be signed by at least 3 members of the MSOTGF.  Appropriate officers of the MSOTFA will review the petition.  The decision of the MSOTFA Board of Directors and/or the contest judges will be final. 

Contestants may register for competition up to the start of the first round of the division in which they are competing. 

All schedules are tentative, so the contestants must be ready to play when they are called to the stage.  If an extenuating circumstance causes a contestant to be late for his/her appearance, he/she may play at the end of that round.  However, he/she will not be permitted to compete if, but only if that round for the division has not come to a close. 

All recording rights are reserved by, and become the property of, the MSOTFA.

2021 Judges