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Bryan McDowell Wins MerleFest Mandolin Contest

By Mandolin Cafe
April 29, 2009 - 1:30 pm

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Bryan McDowell

Bryan McDowell

Wilkesboro, N.C. — Bryan McDowell of Canton, North Carolina is the winner of the 2009 MerleFest Mandolin Contest.

2nd Place went to Jesse Daniel from Pisgah, Alabama and Caleb Courtner from Butler, Tennessee finished third.

This year's judges were Tony Williamson, Bil VornDick and Rad Andy. Prizes were: Grand Prize/First Place - Gibson F-9 F-Style mandolin valued at $3350, $300 cash and a performance on the Cabin Stage on Saturday, April 25; Second Place - Gibson Flatiron "Festival" F-Style mandolin, valued at $1350, and $200 cash; Third Place - Calton mandolin case, valued at $735, and $50 cash.

The MerleFest Mandolin Contest was sponsored by Gibson, D'Addario, and 1-800-Bluegrass.

Seth Taylor from Bryson City, North Carolina was the winner of the Merle Watson Bluegrass Banjo Championship and Tyler Grant from Nashville, Tennessee took the top award in the Doc Watson Guitar Championship.

The instrument contests were open to paid MerleFest ticket holders. Twenty registrants were randomly selected to participate in each contest. Contestants were judged on arrangement, execution and tuning, spirit, and overall impression.

Photo credit: Will Sparklin, Wilkes Community College.

Additional information:

Kentucky MandolinsMorgan MusicThe Mandolin StoreMandolin World HeadquatersFolkMusician.com - Acoustic Instrument OutfittersEastman MandolinsWeber MandolinsThe Music EmporiumAcoustic Music CompanyEllis MandolinsElderly InstrumentsJustStrings.comD'Addario Strings