International Thumbpicking Contest 2013
Muhlenberg County, Kentucky

by Joe Hudson

From the Director’s Chair…………..

I would like to begin by expressing a sincere thank you on behalf of everyone at the National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame for your wonderful support during the Home of the Legends Thumbpicking Weekend.  The fourth weekend of September is always a special to us, and this year was no different.  The weekend began on Friday evening, September 27th with a pre-show from Paul Moseley & friends. Paul was joined by Freddie Russell and many other pickers to kick off a great evening of honoring some of the finest pickers you will find anywhere. The Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony is a special time that we spend recognizing pickers in different categories for their contributions and accomplishments in the Thumbpicking World.  The Inductees for 2013 are as follows:

Living Thumbpicker

Comer “Moon” Mullins

Deceased Thumbpicker

JD Norman

Thumbpicker of the Year

Tommy Emmanuel

Album of the Year

John Knowles

Supporting Musician

Bernard “Bear” Travis & Michael Moseley

Supporting Fan

Jim & Diane Miller

Horizon Award

Shohei Toyoda & Sojourner McClure

President’s Award

Lana Moseley & Penny Pennington

As always, many of the inductees were on hand to perform. Supporting Fans Jim & Diane Miller once again traveled all the way from Canada to enjoy the music and receive the Supporting Fan award, which was presented by their great friend and the president of the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society, Dr. Mark Pritcher along with his wife Carol.  Lana Moseley & Penny Pennington were both presented the President’s Award by Hall of Fame President Paul Moseley for all of their hard work and dedication during all of our events.  Horizon award winners Sojourner McClure and Shohei Toyoda each performed, and fully demonstrated why they earned their awards this year. Supporting Musician recipient Bernard “Bear” Travis was accompanied by Freddie Russell and picked a couple of traditional Travis tunes. Michael Moseley was another Supporting Musician inductee, and performed along with Palmer Moore and Paul Moseley in honor of Deceased Thumbpicker JD Norman.  Comer “Moon” Mullins was inducted in the Living Thumbpicker category and was joined on stage by his friend and protégé Ben Hall. John Knowles was honored with the Album of the Year award and was pleased to pick tunes not only for that award, but also in honor of this year’s Thumbpicker of the Year Tommy Emmanuel. The evening was rounded out by a tribute to Merle Travis which included performances from Shane Adkins, Roger Hardin, Ben Hall and Eddie Pennington.

Saturday’s Home of the Legends Thumbpicking Championship began at 10:00 am and ran throughout the day. Players from all over came out to compete for cash, and a chance to win this year’s grand prize Gretsch Country Gentleman. Deena Ashley did a wonderful job as always as the emcee and a very good crowd was on hand to see and hear a great day of music. The International Home of the Legends Thumbpicking Championship results are as follows::

Traditional Category Top 5

1) Sojourner McClure - Oak Ridge, TN

2) Dan Bankhurst  - Cleveland, OH

3) Matt Thomas – Williamsburg, VA

4) Jacob Gerrells – Ringgold, GA

5) JT Oglesby – Nortonville, KY


Contemporary Category Top 5

1) Dan Bankhurst  - Cleveland, OH

2) Matt Thomas – Williamsburg, VA

3) Jacob Gerrells – Ringgold, GA

4) Sojourner McClure - Oak Ridge, TN

5) JT Oglesby – Nortonville, KY


Junior (17 & under Category)

1) Parker Hastings - Richmond, KY

2) Evan Twitty – Vincennes, IN


As Junior Champion, Parker Hastings was the winner of a Gretsch G5420T.  Both of these young men did an amazing job and are helping secure the future of this music!

Winner of playoff between Contemporary & Traditional Category & Grand Champion 2013 was Dan Bankhurst – Enjoy your new Gretsch 6122 Country Gentleman!  Thank you to all of the competitors! You did an amazing job!

Saturday evening was kicked off by performances from the Thumbpicking Championship winners.

There was one more Grand Champion to perform, and that was 2012 Champion Scott Taylor. Scott, who was accompanied by the Endless Road Strings, performed a 30 minute set of music that truly demonstrated why he was last year’s champion. The strings also performed flawlessly as always. Pat Kirtley was next in line to take the stage and was also joined by the strings and kept the momentum going with song after song in the style that he is famous for, and that only comes from his fingers.

The next segment of the evening was a very special tribute to a great picker and our dear friend Chip Young.  Chip’s list of accomplishments is a large one which includes studio work with Dolly Parton, the Statler Brothers, Reba McEntire, Elvis Presley and many more. John Knowles began the tribute with songs honoring Chip as well as represented Chips great friend Jerry Reed. Paul Moseley and Freddie Russell performed two Gospel tunes, which has always been one of Chips favorites, especially when performed by Paul & Freddie.  The very talented Ashley Mefford was joined by Mark Thornton (rhythm guitar), Joe Hudson (lead guitar), Gary Kubal (Bobby Bare drummer), Bart Pike (bass) and the Endless Road Strings to perform the classic Dolly Parton song “Jolene” follow by a Reba hit called “Can’t Even get the Blues”. Thom Bresh was a surprise guest for the evening, and played tunes in a true Bresh & Jerry Reed style along with paying tribute to Chip with some very kind words. Ben Hall took the stage next and was joined by his wife Hannah and special guest Diane McCall. They performed a variety of  classic tunes that Chip played and or produced such as “Way Down Deep” (Vern Gosdin),  Baby’s Not Home” (Diane McCall)  and “Worried Man Blues” (Charlie Louvin).  Ben and company were followed by another great friend of Chips, and backup guitar player for Jerry Reed - Mark Thornton. Mark was accompanied by Gary Kubal and Bart Pike, who were also the house musicians for the evening and did a fantastic job!

The evening was capped off by a performance by the legendary Bobby Bare.  Bobby and Chip have been close friends for a long time and also share grandchildren. Bobby was very pleased to be a part of the evening and finished off the show with an hour of hit after hit. 

I thank you all again for your attendance, and I would like to thank those of you who were unable to attend as well – as I know that you will want to join us next year and I look forward to meeting each and every one of you.

Joe Hudson, Executive Director, National Thumbpickers Hall of Fame

Champions Parker Hastings and Dan Bankhurst

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