Tequa Trio at Fidpick 23 / Photo by Fally Afani

Every year in August, the whole town packs up the lawn chairs and heads to South Park for a big dose of bluegrass at the Kansas State Fiddling and Picking Championship. This is where the best fiddlers, flat pickers, and pluckers come to show off their chops. One of the more popular aspects for attendees is watching the bands that were peppered into the event between categories and while judges were on breaks.

Jeremy Blaes & Grant Boesen at Fidpick 23 / Photo by Fally Afani

In the past, categories were primarily reserved for solo musicians or duets. But this year, a new “Band Competition” category was introduced. This was an exciting aspect for the immediate surrounding community, offering an opportunity for ensembles and groups to earn an award without traveling far (especially if you were already in town for Kaw River Roots Fest). Eight bands competed, including:

  • Tequa Trio
  • Signal Ridge
  • Cowtown Country Club
  • Folk in the Flow
  • Wakarusa Roundabouts
  • Whiskey Mash Band
  • Jeremy Blaes & Grant Boesen
  • The Tonganoxie Split

There was a wide variety between the styles. Some were more old school, some donned sequins and put a doo-wop/jazz spin on the music. One of the audience favorites was a trio of 16 year-old triplets (triplets!!) called Tequa Trio. Their remarkable talent even had a small group forming to watching them rehearse behind the stage. Ultimately, Whiskey Mash Band, hot off their Kaw River Roots Fest performance, won by just wowing the crowd (audience reaction counted towards the points).

Photos from the competition below.



Fally Afani is an award-winning journalist with a career spanning more than 20 years in media. She has worked extensively in radio, television, newspapers, magazines, and more.

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