Robert Whipple

2018 President


Would you like to be a member

of the Death Valley '49ers

and attend our annual


Visit our Membership



Encampment Program

2016 Example

Down the Trail



November 4th-11th, 2018


General Meeting


Next Meeting:

September 15, 2018, 2:00pm

Heritage Inn

Ridgecrest, CA


~ ~Over Herd~ ~


2016 Keepsake

"The Passionate Creation of

the National Park Service"

by Steve Hale


"Death Valley - A Winter's Journey"

by Jackie Keller

Available Now!

The Water Hole


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** NOTE: This event is NOT being held at the 2018 Encampment. **

Ol' Time Grassy Green Pickin' and Fiddlin' Contest

The Grassy Green Pickin' and Fiddlin' Contest has taken place at Furnace Creek Ranch for well over 25 years and is known for its friendly competition and good old-fashioned fun.

Through this contest the Death Valley '49ers strive to preserve the historic fiddling culture and tunes, to help develop audience appreciation and understanding, and to acknowledge today's musicians who are carrying on this traditional music genre.

Bring your fiddle and your friends and join us for a day of fun and competition at the Fiddler's Stage.


The Death Valley '49ers Old Time Fiddlin' Contest

Registration (at the fidddler's stage) 
8:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. ???

Contest Begins
1:00 p.m. Saturday, Nov. ???

Finals, play-offs and awards:
6:00 p.m. Saturday, Nov. ??? at the Fiddler's Stage

The Death Valley '49ers Grassy Green Pickin' Contest

Registration (at the fidddler's stage) 
8:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. ???

Contest Begins
9:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. ???

Finals, play-offs and awards:
6:00 p.m. Saturday, Nov. ??? at the Fiddler's Stage

Membership is required so don't forget to wear your BUTTON



Grassy Green Fiddlin' Contest Rules

  1. All contestants and their back-up must be members of Death Valley '49ers. Memberships are sold at the registration table. Everyone is urged to support the Encampment and the efforts of the Death Valley '49ers by joining whether they enter the contests or not.
  2. First Time Ever, Juniors, Adults, Seniors, Senior-Seniors, and Open may enter one division plus Hot Fiddle and Twin.
  3. Contestants will draw numbers for order of appearance and must be ready to play in the order drawn.
  4. First and second round contestants play a hoedown, a waltz and a tune of choice in that order. Trick, fancy or exhibition fiddling is reserved for Hot and Twin Fiddle. Hot Fiddle contestants play one tune. Twin Fiddle contestants play two tunes, one fast, one slow.
  5. No tune shall be played more than once by the same contestant during all appearances. This does not apply to Hot and Twin Fiddle.
  6. All contestants must observe a 4 minute time limit. 10 points will be assessed for each 30 seconds overtime or portion thereof.
  7. Contestants may play alone or with no more than two accompanists. Accompanists may not play melody or lead. Hot and Twin may have three accompanists.
  8. No amplified instruments, sheet music or vocals may be used.
  9. Old time contestants will be judged on difficulty, old time style, rhythm, clarity and tone. Twin Fiddle will be judged on, difficulty, rhythm, clarity and tone, and harmony. Hot Fiddle will be judged on, difficulty, rhythm, clarity and tone and hot style. 100 points maximum per round. Scores are accumulative. Judges decisions are final.
  10. Old time ties will be broken with a hoedown. Hot & Twin ties, a tune of choice.
  11. The top five contestants from all categories advance to playoffs Saturday evening.
  12. Contestants (or fiddle committee on their behalf) will redraw for order of appearance.
  13. Bad conduct, abusive language or being under the influence of any substance is cause for disqualification, forfeit of prizes and escort from the premises.
  14. Contestants winning Open three times consecutively must sit out the next year.
  15. All commercial recording and video rights are reserved and shall become the property of Death Valley '49ers, a non-profit entity. Signing the contest registration form waives such rights.

Grassy Green Pickin' Contest Rules

  1. All contestants and their back-up must be members of Death Valley '49ers. This membership entitles you and your family to participate in all Encampment activities. Everyone is urged to join whether they are contestants or not.
  2. All rules of conduct and contest management for the fiddlers apply. See posted fiddle rules. Rules for choice of tunes differ.
  3. Divisions: Guitar, Banjo, Mandolin and Novelty. Contestants may enter two divisions plus Novelty.
  4. Contestants play two tunes, each one a noticeably different tempo. Novelty will play one tune.
  5. Categories will compete in the following order: mandolins, banjos, novelty, guitar.
  6. Various traditional styles such as folk, blues, ragtime, gospel, country, old-time are appropriate. Rock styles and excessive strumming will be disqualified. Contemporary tunes from any genre or era may be played as long as they are picked.
  7. Contestants may use thumb pick, flat pick, finger picks or no picks at all.
  8. There will be no playoffs unless there is a tie. Playoffs require one tune of choice. No playoff tune may be a repeat of one played earlier.
  9. First place guitar, mandolin and banjo will compete for Best Overall. This winner receives a medallion and the Pete Jones Award, guitar. This round requires one tune not a repeat of something played earlier. A tie in the finals will be settled with a playoff, one tune of choice. The Pete Jones Award cannot be won by the same person more often than every five years. Should someone who has received this award win the final round, that person will receive the Best Overall medallion, but the guitar will be awarded to the next person down the ladder.


Grassy Green Pickin' Contest:  1st-5th place

Best Overall Picker

Grassy Green Fiddlin' Contest: 1st-5th place

Juniors to 17 yrs
Adult 18-45 yrs
Senior 50-69 yrs
Senior 70+ yrs 

Hot Fiddle
Twin Fiddle
First Timer