Saturday, December 14, 2019
Ernie Sites to Headline Fiddlers of Idaho Concert
Ernie Sites has performed with Riders in the Sky, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, the Sons of the Pioneers, Bonnie Raitt, John Michael Montgomery, Mo Bandy and others. And he’s appeared on CBS, PBS, BBC and Good Morning America. COURTESY: Ernie Sites
Tuesday, April 9, 2019


Ernie Sites is the cowboy you’d want sitting around your chuckwagon campfire at night.

A natural born storyteller, Sites sings all the songs about tumblin’ tumbleweeds, “The Strawberry Roan,” a “Sagebrush Boogie,” wide open spaces and even the Malad River Gorge.

He dances with lariats. He postulates in rhyme—cowboy poet style. And he even yodels.

Mikayla Shippy performed at last year’s contest. PHOTO: Fiddlers Inc.

This cowboy troubadour, who hails from Wendell but has traveled the world singing stories of the West, will headline the kick-off concert for this weekend’s Fiddlers of Idaho State Championships.

The concert featuring Sites and others starts at 7 p.m. Friday, April 12, at the Wood River High School Performing Arts Theater at the Community Campus in Hailey.

Tickets are $15 for adults, $12 for seniors 60 and over, $10 for veterans and their spouses, $10 for youth 7 through 17 and free for youth 6 and younger. Family tickets are $55. They’re available at the door—cash or check. And they’re available at

Joining Sites will be a demonstration of twin fiddling with three pair of young fiddlers vying for prize money. Contest judges—Tim Hodgson of the Bar J Wranglers and Kelly Buckley and Taylor Buckley—a married couple from Missoula, Mont.--will also perform a few selections.

“Ernie is quite well known in Southern Idaho. His music is great and his showmanship terrific,” said Richard Fife, spokesman for the Fiddlers of Idaho competition. “Last year we had a young lady named Kristin Harris (South Carolina fiddle champion), and that concert was a terrific success. And we’re looking forward to the same with Ernie, as Friday’s concert helps cover the costs of the contest.”

The Fiddlers of Idaho State Championship, brought to Hailey in 2014, is expected to lure at least 70 youth and 15 adults to show off their bowing skills.

There is no charge to watch the competition, which will be held from 9 a.m. Saturday into the evening. Contestants will vie for trophies, prize money and a chance to compete at the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest during the third full week in June in Weiser.

That contest is a weeklong event of contests and jam sessions for fiddle, banjo, mandolin and more. A young Mark O’Connor competed at the contest winning national championships on fiddle, guitar and mandolin.

Youth competition, including those as young as 5, starts at 9 a.m. and runs through the day. The adult competition, which includes young adults from 18 to 35 to seniors 70 and older, will be held from 3 to 6:30 p.m. Open championships begin at 6:30 p.m.

Contestants can register online or Saturday morning. Most contestants will be asked to perform a hoedown, waltz and tune of their choice.

Every year the contest has honored those who have helped perpetuate the art of fiddling in the Gem State.

This year the award will be given to Blaine Stubblefield, who founded the National Oldtime Fiddlers’ Contest in 1953. Stubblefield, who lived from 1896 to 1960, not only originated passenger boat tours down the Hells Canyon of the Snake River but he collected and documented the folk songs of miners, farmers and ranchers.

“The plaque we award in his honor will be put in the museum at the National Old-Time Fiddlers’ contest,” said Fife.


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