2016 Oklahoma State Picking & Fiddling Championships
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Aarun Carter

Before she opened her eyes or learned to talk, music was a part of her life. Maybe she fell in love with fiddling before she was born, the day her mother, eight months pregnant with her, competed in a fiddling contest. Aarun was taught suzuki violin at the age of 2, and never stopped learning! At 4 years old, Aarun won the Colorado State Small Fry Division. Soon after, she won an award for the “youngest fiddler” at the National Old Time Fiddlers Contest. Aarun attended Denver School of the Arts High School in Denver, CO and majored in Orchestra. She got to experience many amazing things while being a part of the DSA family. In addition to being one of the top rated Orchestras in the state, they got to perform with Garrison Keillor at Boettcher Concert Hall for "A Prarie Home Companion."

Aarun has studied under many award winning fiddlers including Wes Wesmoreland (Mel Tillis), Christian Howes (Les Paul), Randy Elmore (Willie Nelson), Katie Glassman (Western Flyers), Lisa Barrett, Joey McKenzie (Quebe Sisters) and Jimmie Don Bates, as well as studying commercial music at South Plains College under the tutelage of Joe Carr (of the Country Gazette) and Cary Banks (of the Maines Brothers Band).

Along with her 5 Colorado State champion titles, Aarun has won state titles in Oregon (2016), Wyoming, and Arkansas (traditional old time state champion). She has also been awarded the title of 2011 National Young Adult Champion at the National Old Time Fiddlers Contest in Weiser, ID.

Aarun is currently living in Portland, OR where she plays with multiple bands, operates the graphic design company Innovative Formations, and is the founder and executive producer of the music documentary production company “Fiddle TV,” in addition to touring with various bands and doing studio projects such as recording 59 fiddle songs to accompany the instructional Mel Bay book entitled “Anthology of Contest Fiddle Tunes.” Aarun also has a high-demand teaching studio and teaches in Portland, Oregon & Vancouver, Washington in conjunction with her mother's "Suziddle" program, where Suzuki and fiddling merge. They also organize rehearsals and performances for their audition only fiddle group, "Fiddlocity".

Devon McCauley

Devon McCauley, from Burleson, Texas is a musician specializing in old time fiddling and acoustic “Swing Rhythm” guitar accompaniment.

The old time Texas style of fiddling became Devon’s favorite along with Western Swing and bluegrass. From very early in his career he listened endlessly to various musicians and bands for their styles and techniques. His collection of music ranges from MP3’s to 78 RPM phonograph records.

His guitar studies have expanded beyond Texas style fiddle accompaniment to include swing, jazz and country music from the 30’s thru the 60’s.

His musical influences include fiddle players such as Benny Thomasson, Norman and Vernon Solomon, Terry Morris, Herman Johnson, Orville Burns, Paul Warren, and Tommy Jackson, to name a few. His favorite guitar players include the likes of Eldon Shamblin, Billy Strange, Homer Haynes, Joey McKenzie, Royce and Ray Franklin, Omega Burden and Freddie Green.

Currently Devon plays gigs and contests around the state as well as teaching private lessons and a fiddle program at Northstar Private School in Arlington, Texas.

Junior Marriott

Junior Marriott began playing rhythm guitar at the age of seven for his dad, who played the fiddle. By age nine he was playing bass and at fourteen he began playing the fiddle. At the age of sixteen he won the Missouri State Fiddle Championship, a title he has won several times, including the 2010 championship. Junior has won various contests and other state championships as well. Some of these include Kansas State Fiddle Championship, Arkansas State Fiddle Championship, and Grand Lake Fiddle Festival Champion in 2006, 2007, and 2010. He placed 5th at the 2000 National Fiddle Contest in Weiser, Idaho and 3rd at the Grand Masters in 2013.

Traveling across the country is not specific to just competing. Junior is also an esteemed judge and contest organizer and supporter. A few major fiddle contests Junior has judged include Missouri State Championship, Arkansas State Championship, Grand Lake Championship in Grove, Oklahoma, the Texas State Championship in Hallettsville, Texas and the Grand Master Fiddler Championship. Contests he has helped organize include the Branson Fiddle Festival and Mid America Fiddlers Championship in Branson, Missouri and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Fiddle Off in Mansfield, Missouri. Junior lives in Ava, Missouri where he owns and operates Marriott Music with his wife, Cathy. He buys, sales, trades, and repairs instruments and offers lessons both in store and on Skype. You can contact Junior at www.marriottmusicstore.com or at Marriott Music on Facebook.