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Bubba Hopkins' return to the Athens Old Fiddlers Reunion and Contest was a sweet one, Saturday, as he walked away with the top prize in the tough Open Division.

Bubba Hopkins took to a familiar stage, Saturday, and came away the winner of the prestigious Open Division at the Athens Old Fiddlers Reunion Contest.

It’s probably been about six years since I’ve been down here.” Hopkins said. “I really had a good time.”

The 90th Old Fiddlers Contest gave the crowd on the west side of the Henderson County Courthouse lawn a chance to see a showdown between some of the best fiddlers to take the Athens stage in recent years.

Hopkins won the 18 and under division in 2009 and returned to be the overall runner-up in 2012. Since then he’s won titles in other state and national contests.

To win Saturday, Hopkins had to outshine a man with multiple Athens championships among his many titles, Carl Westmoreland. Finishing third was Mia Kelso, who has also built a reputation among the top fiddlers in North Texas. It was Kelso who edged Hopkins in 2012 for the Athens title, then returned in 2017 to win for a second time.

The fiddle players today made the judges’ job really hard,” event organizer Sherry McKenzie said. “We had fiddle players from six states. When one fiddler does well it makes the next one want to get up and really show what they can do.”

McKenzie said the weather helped the event draw a big crowd.

We’re overjoyed,” McKenzie said. “People are just anxious to get back out.”

The division standings were:

Small Fry

1. McKenna Peterson

2. Afton Halverson

3. Stella Arnold

4. Scarlett Arnold

Junior

1. Georgia Halverson

2. Thomas Paskvian

3. Charlotte Ryan

4. Orly Ryan

5. Chloe Bullard

6. Alihayah Whipple

Adult

1. Eavia Ryan

2. Aimee Peterson

3. Josh Partridge

4. Chad Matthews

5. Jessica Henderson

6. Angela Krupp

Accompanist

1. Hyatt Hopkins

2. Nick Giuentine

3. Ryan Elmore

4. Al Mouledous

Open

1. Bubba Hopkins

2. Wes Westmoreland

3. Mia Kelso

4. Grace Partridge

5. Carl Hopkins

6. Leah Sawyer

7. Leah Boun

8. Nathan Pednault

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