Fiddle World Mourns Two Difficult Losses

The Texas fiddling family lost 2 of its members in June and July. Howard “Butch” Westmoreland Jr. passed away on June 20, and Wilmer “Cowboy” Little passed away July 3. The Texas Old Time Fiddlers Association wishes to express their condolences to the families of each of these men.

Wilmer “Cowboy” Little
May 1, 1935 - July 3, 2016

If you ever attended the Southwest Fiddlers Championship contest in Groesbeck, Texas then you would have seen Cowboy. He founded the contest 48 years ago and served as its announcer. He is described in a 2008 Houston Chronicle newspaper article as the heart of the contest, and without him, there would very likely be no fiddle contest in Groesbeck. His enthusiasm and love for fiddling was always appreciated, and he will be missed.

Obituary for Howard D. “Butch” Westmoreland
July 13, 1941 - June 20, 2016

Howard D. "Butch" Westmoreland Jr, passed away on June 20, 2016 with his wife, Marianne Westmoreland by his side.

Howard was born to Bus and Sibyl Westmoreland on July 13, 1941 in Dublin, Texas. Howard married Marianne Mullen on June 10, 1961 in Lamesa, Texas. They have two children, Wes Westmoreland and Alice Anne Thomas.

Howard was preceded in death by his parents, Bus and Sibyl Westmoreland, older sister, Margaret Spikes and her husband, Al, and brother, Gene Westmoreland.

Howard was a member of the Rock House Masonic Lodge.

He is survived by his wife Marianne Westmoreland; two children, Wes Westmoreland and wife Kelly; Alice Anne Thomas and her husband Wayne; little sister Sarah Mason; five grandchildren, Amy Niver and
husband Mat, Colton Thomas and wife Shelby, Mackenzie Thomas, Katherine Westmoreland and Tanner Westmoreland; and two great-grandchildren, Hayley and Jaxon Niver.

Howard began his law enforcement career in North Richland Hills, Texas. In 1971 and retired from Hamilton County Sheriff's Office in 2004. Howard was a well-respected man by people of all walks of life, young and old, good guys, and bad guys. After retiring from law enforcement he spent his extra energy in his shop building many treasures for all his family and friends. His hobbies included: hunting, fishing, music, and having coffee on the hill with his mom and dad.

Howard played the guitar and fiddle, as did many of other members of his family. Sundays, on the hill at Mema and Papa's were always filled with music, family, friends, good food, and fun. He travelled all over the state with his son, his brother, and his dad. They played in many, many fiddle contests.

He will be missed by the many people he worked with and had fun with and by all of his family. He was a dad to more than just his own children, being a good strong role model for all his nieces, nephews, grandkids, and great-grandkids.

Pallbearers: Jim Buster, Randy Mills, Shea Guinn, Brad Guinn, Loran Bodnar, Mark Beauregard. Honorary pallbearers: Greg Fulton, Charles Garrett and Sammy Guinn.

Johnson County Pioneers & Old Settlers Reunion Fiddle Contest, Alvarado, TX

The next contest on the TOTFA schedule will be September 9. The Johnson County Pioneers and Old Settlers Reunion was first held in 1893, so that means this year’s will be the 124th annual. In that time, according to organizer Rocky Biggs, there have been over 100 fiddle contests associated with this 4-day event.

This year the contest will start at Friday evening at 7 p.m. That’s one hour earlier than in previous years, and will kick off with the senior division. This will be the 2nd year that TOTFA has worked in partnership with the county association, and all our members are encouraged to attend this historic contest. Thanks to an anonymous donation, an additional $250 will be paid out in the 0-15 age division to let the youngsters know how much they are appreciated! The divisions and projected payouts are listed later in this newsletter.

34th Annual J. Box Roberts Memorial Fiddle Contest
Seguin, TX

Organizer Jesse Roy Hart announces that there is additional prize money to be awarded this year. The grand championship division, which is the 1st place winner from each fiddle division, will pay $500 to the Grand Champion (1st place) and $300 to the Reserve Grand Champion (2nd place). Accompanist prize money has also been increased to $200 for 1st place and $150 for 2nd place.

This contest takes place on the Guadalupe County fairgrounds on October 8. See the listing of payouts for each division later in this newsletter.

New Contest: Comanche Pow Wow Fiddle Contest

The TOTFA Board is excited to announce a new contest in Comanche, Texas! Called the Comanche Pow Wow Fiddle Contest, it is set for Sunday, Sep 25, 2016. Registration begins at 11:30 am, and the contest itself starts at noon. This will be an outside contest located in the city park under the pavilion. The address is Comanche City Park, 1200 Comanche Trail, Comanche, TX 76442. Look for more information in the September edition of the Fiddler and on the TOTFA website: www.totfa.com.

508 Park Fiddle Contest Cancelled for 2016

This was a new contest that took place November 7, 2015. Former board member, Ed Carnes, helped organize it and was in talks with the sponsors to get it on the schedule again this year. Unfortunately, the funding needed for this event is not available in 2016. The contest is funded by a charitable organization, and one of their primary goals is renovation and opening of a museum in the old Brunswick Warehouse Recording Studio in downtown Dallas. All available funding, including what would have been available for a contest, is being diverted to accomplish this. Let’s hope that this contest can return in 2017.

TOTFA, By the Numbers

TOTFA currently has 143 members
Bank balance, as of August 13: $6,754.71


The Devil's Box available for purchase here!The Devil's Box is a fast paced jam-packed look at the world of contest fiddling. Every year contestants from all over the United States flock to the town of Hallettsville, Texas, to compete for the title of best Texas-style fiddler. Featuring performances from some of the greatest legends of American roots music, The Devil’s Box explores the beginnings of the art form and showcases the rising talents that will dominate the traditional music scene for years to come. The Devil’s Box is an instant classic, filled with fantastic music and great family fun. The 3-disc set includes:

Disc 1: The Devil's Box documentary, an 84-minute look at the world of contest fiddling and all of the major players involved. Bonus features include an extended history section of Texas-style, a four-minute movie of the Hallettsville Bar-BQ Cook-Off, Song Writers Serenade featurette, and an interview with the director Jason Hammond and producer Beth Jasper

Disc 2: The Devil's Box Bonus Disc features 42 complete fiddle tunes played by contestants from around the country as well as performances by Larry Franklin, Texas Shorty, and many, many more.

Disc 3 The Lost Benny Thomasson Tapes: This disc is a wonderful hour-long interview with the master himself, Benny Thomasson. Benny tells the story of Texas-style as only he knows it and plays 19 tunes like only he can. This interview from 1976 has been cleaned up and remastered and is the ideal tutorial for any fiddler who wants to hear the tunes exactly as Benny played them and learn some fascinating fiddle history along the way.

To buy the 3-disc set, click the "Buy Now" button below. You may pay with a credit card or a PayPal account. Thank you for your support! And spread the word about The Devil's Box - the happy documentary!


April 2: Llano
April 23-25: Hallettsville*
May 7: Groesbeck
May 29: Athens*
September 9: Alvarado
September 25: Comanche
October 1: Bowie
October 8: Seguin
October 8-9: Greenville*
October 15: Gilmer
October 22: Crockett*
November 12: Glen Rose

*non-association contest


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