Fiddlers, jiggers converge upon Hay River for competition

Dancers and musicians from across the West congregated in Hay River this past weekend for the Biggest Fiddling and Jigging Championship North of 60.
From Sept. 3 – 5 the Ben Sivertz Arena was filled with music and dancing as each competitor vied for the top prize.
“It has been just great,” said local fiddler Linda Duford. “Last year we only had four fiddlers, and this year we have seven.”

But in addition to a larger lineup of musicians, there was a larger turnout for Saturday’s events.
“It is a nice crowd this year,” she said. “Usually we have most people coming on Sunday.”
But the seats were packed both days as locals enjoyed the performances.  At the end of the weekend, winners were announced in the three competitive categories and each walked away with a cheque to cash.
In the youth jigging competition, Brady Desrocher placed third, Jaida Brunet in second and Davene Daigneault finished at the top.
In the adult jigging competition, Kirsten Maurice ranked third, Andrew Deedza in second place and Christopher Buggins walked away with the first place prize after dazzling the crowd with his footwork.
In the fiddling event, Linda Duford came in third place. Martin Hanelin came in second place, and Andrea Bettger walked away $2,000 richer for her first place win.
In addition to the competition, the weekend also held several dances for both youth and adults, a bingo and an adult talent show. In total, $10,000 was given away in cash prizes for the talent that came out.
Duford is hoping that there will be entries for the youth fiddling next year, and has plans to make that dream a reality.
“We would like to start up a fiddling program at the youth centre to regenerate some interest,” she said. “Hopefully we can get some youth contestants for next year.”