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past contest winners

Please help us fill in the missing years - if you have information about 2003, 2004, or 2005 c contests, get in touch via the form at the bottom of this site. 


First place: Squirrelly String Band



First place: Squirrelly String Band + Larry Hanks
Second place: Los Califos
Third place: Ray & the Rounders

Band We'd Like To Have Dinner With: Uncle Snuffy & the Whistle Pigs
Original Material (and Worst Dressed): Smashing Bumpkins (aka Overeducated String Band)
Notiest (In A Good Way): The Lied Strands
Vocal Harmony: Girls Night Out
Best Rendition of The Swimming Song: Skinny Gals
Emerging Talent: Itchy Mountain Men

1) Not For Profit (Karen Celia Heil, Brendan Doyle, and Maxine Gerber)
2) The Rangellers (Paul Rangell, Emily Abbink, Benny and Rafael Rangell, Ken Keppeler, and Jeanie McLerie)
3) Better Than Speaking (Hiromasa Kase, Rich Hartness & Karen Falkowski)

First Prize: Pilot Lighters (Black Crown String Band)
Elise Engelberg on fiddle
Matt Knoth on banjo
John McKelvy on guitar
Rob Mellberg on bass

Second prize: Braided River
Morgan Fichter on fiddle
Bob Ellis on autoharp
Corbin Pagter on mandolin
Matt Knoth on guitar

Third prize: Red Rag Andy and the Stridulators
Andy Brown on guitar
Gary Arcemont on fiddle and vocal
Barbara Larae on bass
Amber Cross on vocals and guitar
Terry Barrett on fiddle

Matt Knoth wins the "Face in the Crowd" award.

First Prize: Magnolia Serenaders
(Jim Holland, from Athens, AL on banjo
Chuck Hornemann from Madison, WI on fiddle
Paul Harnik from Palo Alto, CA on guitar)

Second prize: K. C. and the Sunshine Band
(Karen Celia, Isaac Enloe, Ben Segilman, Colin Harris)

Third prize: Rhythm Rangellers (Paul Rangell, Ben Rangell, Rafael Rangell, and Emily Abbink)

Honorary mentions:
Most memorized notes: Ragtime Skedaddlers (Dennis Pash, Nick Robinson, Dave Krinkel)

Best mouth solo: Devine's Jug Band

Shameless use of progeny: Tie between 2 bands (sorry, don't know the names)
One band included 2 pregnant women and the other one included someone with a toddler in a backpack.

First Prize:
The New Omatics

Second Prize:
Striped Pig Stringband

Third Prize:
Sour Mash Hug Band

Honorable Mentions:

Best Bribe: Mad Dogs

Parrot's Favorite Tune: McCrae Sisters - Reuben's Train

Best Names (tie) :
One Trick Possum
You Can't See [Tell , judge's word] Grace Forest For [From] the Trees


1. P-38's with Caspian, Robbie and Zack 2. The Rangellers with Paul, Emily, Raff and Ben Rangell 3. Waxwing John & the Croker Sack Boys - with Waxwing John Cowan, Miller Wise and Lloyd Elliot

First Prize: Oak Grove (the Schwartz Family - Bob, Gail, Max, Nate, & Tessa)

Second Prize: Rosey & Thorney (Adam Rose & Paul Rangell)

Third Prize: Seabright Serenaders (Paul Rangell, Emily Abbink, & Irene Herrmann)

1 - Oak Grove (the Schwartz Family - Bob, Gail, Max, Nate, & Tessa)
2 - Right to Parlay
3 - Veretski Pass

Honorable for Uniqueness - Choro Fouro
Honorable Vocal - American Nomad
Honorable young Tunesters - TIE
  Sydney Special
  Barefoot Quales

1. Pig's Foot String Band: George Bradshaw, Ed Cirimele, Ken Torke, Mark Wardenburg, Barbara Rosner, Linda Sullivan 

2. Sydney Special: Sydney Roberts, Stefan Curl, Susan Sullivan

3. Bakesale Buddies: Rowan McCallister, Allegra Thompson, Emily Mann, Robin Fischer

Honorable mentions:

Best Family Band: tie between Yellins Ruyle (Jordan, Allegra & family) and Granny and the Girls (Judy Stavely, Anja and Mara)

Best Bribe & Most Fiddles: Possum Riot
Christy McCain, Chuy Mendeola, Craig Fixler, Tony Phillips, David Brown, Catherine Rose Crowther

Best Hats: Granny and the Girls

Best Anagram: Evil Diane - Evie Ladin, Keith Terry, Erik Pearson

Best Karaoke: Serenity Devine

1st place:  Earl White Band 
(Earl White, Adrienne Davis, Evie Ladin, Keith Terry)

2nd place:  Relatively Old Time Singing Society 
(Adrian Dooley, Ryan Dooley, Abby Rose, Ali Bond,Ellen Auriti, Lisa Heil, Lael Sigal)

3rd place:  Loma Prieta Homewreckers's Association
(Mugg Muggles, Mrs. Rittenhouse, and Ray Landsberg)

Most Promising:
Sydney Special (Sydney Roberts, David Brown, Sarah Wilson)
Womprat Canyon Ramblers

Best costumes:  Jailhouse String Band


#1 Barefoot Quales

#2 Road House Pilgrims (Carlo Calabi, Sara Winge & Bill Foss)

#3 Jailhouse String Band

Honorable Mention: Sydney Special
Most promising: Rena's Strings and Other Things

Best Bribe: Odd Tuesday (pooper scoopers)
Boss Tim (great stuff from Tim's farm)
Hoover Hot Shots (chocolate goodies)

Best Band names (tie) : Sally Anthropists  and the Golden State Warblers

Highest Elbow: Funny Fiddler
Best A Capella: Hare Today (Craig Fixler, Jim Geselbracht, Catherine Rose Crowther, Tony Phillips)
Best Three Generational Group with good hats - Granny and the Girls (Judy Stavely & her granddaughters)


1 - Devil's Little Angels (Amy Scher, Julay Brooks, Hailey Pexton)
2 - That Seventies Stringband ( Tessa Schwartz, Aerie
Walker, Allie Marten and Tuki Walker)
3 - Disciples of Markos
1st Runner up - Instant Klezmer
2nd Runner up - Cherry Switch
Showmanship Award - Jailhouse Stringband
Most promising fiddler - Rena's Strings and Other Things


1st - Hypocrite Shoes (Julay Brooks, John Gravois, Dane Miller, Mike Thompson)
2nd - Jailhouse Stringband
3rd - Other Brothers - Dan Warrick & Paul Kotapish

Best "Jam" band (their bribe for the judges was jam..)
Confused Creek (Larry Cusick, Dave Engle, Jim Geselbracht)

Sweetest Sound - Savage and Small (Niki Savage & Tonya Small) 

Best Scat-atude - Howling Haole Hotshots

Best Afro Cuban Sound - Sentimiento y Manana

Best Bribes:
KC & the MooNshine Band (kAren Celia Heil, Leslie Keir, Michelle Yu, Mike Lewinski)

- Irish coffee and donut holes
Rossmore Ramblers (Sydney Roberts, kAren Celia Heil, Soheil Soliman)

- Homemade honey


1st:    Birches Bend  
2nd:    Corn Likkers 
3rd:    Hairy Garrison 

Hardly Strictly Old World Old Time:  Lars in Charge
Honorable Mention:  Ocean Bound
Honorable Mention: Stone Cold Ramblers
They Take the Cake Award (for Chocolate cake with file inside) Jailhouse String Band
Most Promising, Up and Coming:    Pet Sounds
Best A Capella: Undone in Sorrow
Best Choreography: Berkeley Melody Makerz
Best Band Name: Two Horsemen of the Pork Lips

2020 (online):

The entries can be viewed at (select media/videos)- you do not need to log on to Facebook.

Message from the judges (Patti Smolian and John Schott)

"As veteran judges of the BOTMC String Band Contest, we mourn the opportunity to hear you in person. But ALL of the 27 entries submitted from near and far were wonderful and repaid multiple viewings. It is heartening to see such resourceful creativity in this weirder-than-usual year. We are grateful for this dazzling outpouring of talent in our community."

  • 1.  Free Little Birds (best video conception, best crooked tune)

  • 2.  Hot Metal Tea Kettle Stringband (most rousing and great singing)

  • 3.  Who's Feeling Young Now? (best ratio of age to talent)

  • First Runner-up: Menacing Fountain Boyz (Great name!)  (Great lyrics that immediately sound traditional)

  • Second Runner-up: Solid Gold Stranger (Best ensemble arrangement of an original song, best improvised instrumental solo)

Honorary Awards:

  • Segelstein/Horowitz Duo (Best performance by world-wide acknowledged masters in their field)

  • Honeysuckle Possums - (Best ensemble with unusual instrument)

  • One to Tango - Best band in a bus, best cat solo (meow), and smallest piano

  • Corn Nut Creek - Best use of chickens in the kitchen

  • Larkdales - special shoutout for best bribe of Bible with filled flask from years ago.  One of the best bribes ever!!!! 

  • Shnoll Family String Band - Happiest family stage presence, best use of fermatas.

  • Red Wheelbarrows (best ratio of bedroom to musical talent; best correction subtitles)

  • Lost Tribe (Tenney Family) (Being Gerry Tenney Award)

  • Ngerchoureng (Most educational video)

  • Worried Man Strong Band (best video with local political focus)

  • Out of Town Trio (Liedstrand Family) (Dig That Fiddling Award)

  • Just Us (Best song Mom used to sing)


  • First Prize: Young and Up Too Late

  • Second Prize:    New Variants

  • Third Prize: Right to Parlay

  • Most Promising/Up and Coming: Nutz and Boltz

  • Lustiest Vocals: Scoby and the Mason Jars

  • Fruitiest - Ten Cent Tea Cakes

  • Most Awesome Banjo - Ezzie of the Cookie Cutters

  • Best Original Song - Solid Gold Strangers

  • Best Duo - Bean Stalk Band

  • Best Repertoire and Vocalist - N95-6-7-8

  • Best First Time Performance - Shivaun McDonald of the Pearlescents


  • First Prize - Criminal Deborah

  • Second Prize - The Vultures

  • Third Prize - Dirty Bird

  • Top Honorable mention - Best musician under 40 - rising star - Micah

  • Best bribe — Bronvynn Beater Band

  • 2nd best bribe (& best up and coming) - Kleptograss

  • Best Family Band — Corn Likkers


  • First Place - Rude Abegas

  • Second Place-  Bear Can Boys

  • Third Place - Willard of the West

Honorable Mentions:

  • Most Anticipated / Least Payoff - The Birthday Suits

  • Best Bribe to No Avail - All Purpose String Band

  • Sexy low voice award - Right Hand Fork of Rush's Creek Ramblers

  • Most heartwarming - No No Nose

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