Category Archives: Hall of fame

2019 Inductee Coming Soon!


Stay tuned for this year’s announced inductee(s)!!!

Olaf Karl Riewe 2018

Olaf Riewe was born September 2nd, 1927 to Rudolph and Adeline Riewe, in the Blue Ridge area of Hamilton, TX. He was the second born of six children. Olaf began playing the fiddle at the age of ten. His first fiddle was made by his mother from a cigar box. Later, he was able to upgrade to a 3/4 size metal fiddle that allowed him to really practice and learn all the basics of fiddle playing. Sometime later, his father made a trip to town and traded for a full size Stradivarius copy, enabling him to master all the techniques of playing. Olaf’s desire for fiddle music continued to grow, and over a full working summer, he was able to save enough money to purchase a newer instrument from a music store in Waco, TX for $80. Olaf’s older brother Louis, also enjoyed music and took up playing the guitar. Together, they would attend various jam sessions, functions, and family gatherings as amateurs to practice and further enhance their talents. The Riewe family eventually moved to Austin, TX in 1947 where later Olaf would meet his life-long love, Anne, in the church choir. Olaf and Anne married on Nov. 6th 1954. A couple of years later, Olaf went to work for the Texas Highway Department that was located at 35th & Jackson, and as fate would have it, also happened to be across the street from a highly regarded luthier, Whatley’s violin shop. Mr. Whatley quickly took a shine to Olaf and his repair abilities, and set him up to make exceptional fiddles and bows. They spent many hours over lunch breaks, and any spare time Mr. Whatley had, refining the skill of fiddle and bow construction. That passion for creating the musical instrument only grew, and overtime, led to Olaf becoming a master at the art of handmade fiddles and bows. At 90 years of age, Olaf still continues to make violins and bows, and do repairs for the many loyal customers whom have become friends over the years. Olaf’s deep rooted devotion for fiddle music prompted him to become a founding member of the Texas Old Time Fiddlers Association, where he was able to further pursue his love of the Texas Old Time Fiddling music. In later years, Olaf and Anne took their nephew, Keith Riewe, to live with them. This would not have been done without Anne’s direction, and for their love of family. Their time together allowed Keith the invaluable opportunity to learn fiddle music from Olaf. Playing together has given all of them so many wonderful memories. The encouragement and support from Olaf and Anne gave Keith a positive foundation for many facets of his life. He went on Tarleton State University, obtained several degrees, became a successful business entrepreneur, and lives in Colleyville, TX with his wife April, and their daughter Presley Anne. Olaf’s beloved Anne went to be with our Lord and Savior on August 8th, 2014. She was a big supporter of Olaf’s admiration of the fiddle, and attended countless contests and jam sessions across this great state of Texas. She has been missed dearly, and there is no doubt, Anne is looking down from heaven with so much pride! Olaf would like to thank the Knights of Columbus for all the contests they have put on, the Fryer Family, for their continued support of Texas fiddle music, Ken Henneke, Frank Zaruba, and all the lifelong friendships he has made through fiddling. He would also like to thank his family for all of their support and love. He could not have accomplished this without them, and our Lord, Jesus Christ. Olaf is greatly honored and humbled to receive this award and be the 2018 inductee to the Fiddlers Hall of Fame.

Robert Chancellor 2018


When Robert Chancellor entered this world on June 25, 1946, he unwittingly was born into a family where music would become a driving force, and he would play a major role in the world of old-time fiddle music beginning at a young age and continuing for a lifetime. Robert was the youngest of five children born to James Houston Chancellor and Bessie Lee Chancellor.  His older brothers Allen and Jim (Texas Shorty) had been playing as a duo for several years, when the family had a chance encounter with the then current World Championship fiddler Benny Thomasson.  An immediate bond between the two families was formed, and the Chancellors’ lives from that point forward would center around the pursuit of excellence in Texas style fiddling.  Robert was recruited at a young age to learn rhythm guitar, and soon began travelling the fiddle contest circuit with his father and brother, and often the entire family, in tow.

Robert quickly honed his skills on the guitar.  He was primarily self-taught, but was fortunate to have greats such as Omega Burden teach and instruct him during frequent jam sessions, with such men tempering their seeming gruffness to try to help someone with such potential.  Robert’s rock-solid timing and resonant chords provided the perfect rhythm for the championship fiddling that his brother Jim would become so well known for.

Throughout the years, Robert has been a sought-after accompanist at contests, always eager to play with everyone who might ask.   Great rhythm players, though often in the shadows, can bring out the best in the fiddlers that they are accompanying, and Robert is a prime example of that.  Whether at a small contest in Alvarado, Texas or at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Robert has offered his consistent and recognizable playing as the foundation for fiddlers great and small to build on.


Jesse Mears 2017


     Jesse W. Mears arrived in this world on January 19, 1939 in Brazos Point, Texas, the sixth of seven children born to Jesse Lawson “Shorty” and Lula Thompson Mears.  The Mears family members were hard workers who labored long hours in the cotton fields but always managed to find time to enjoy fiddle music. Music has been a deep-rooted tradition in the Mears family.  Around 1920, Jesse’s father, Shorty, purchased a Sears and Roebuck fiddle from his uncle who had purchased the instrument ten years prior for the grand price of $9.98. In between farming, Shorty would fiddle and sometimes try to enhance the sound of his fiddle by sanding down the top.  By the time Jesse inherited his father’s fiddle, the top was so paper thin that it had to be replaced. Jack Mears, Jesse’s great uncle, was a widely recognized fiddler who played and traveled extensively throughout Texas. Some of his recordings were preserved by music historians and can be found in the Library of Congress.  Jesse’s brother, Walter Mears, is also a fiddle player who has participated in many contests around the state of Texas. While Jesse expressed an interest in the fiddle at a very young age, his father was fearful that Jesse would be careless with the instrument. Finally, when Jesse was sixteen years old, his mother told him that he could secretly practice on his father’s fiddle but he would need to “be careful and hold it over the bed when you play and be sure and put it back just the way you found it”.  With years of music already stored in his memory, it wasn’t long before Jesse began to develop his own style and drive.

    The Mears family eventually migrated to Alvarado, Texas where they moved frequently as they continued to farm and fiddle.  Jesse still resides in Alvarado although he gave up farming to become a truck driver. He is currently retired. Back in the day, local fiddlers would gather at the Mears home to play tunes.       Among some of the early old time fiddlers in Jesse’s life were Clyde Fannon (a note fiddler), Brooks Thompson (and his piano playing brother, Bushrod), and Jim Ezell, a fellow cotton picker. Jesse recently recalled some of the tunes that had been played in those distant jam sessions and reintroduced them to current day fiddlers.  It was as if the old tunes had been locked away in his memory and were just waiting to be rediscovered.

   In the early years of his playing, Jesse would attend “fiddlings” at house parties and churches.  His band of accompanists then included Herschel Simmons, Carl Simmons, John Biggs, and Buddy Weeks.  Falls Creek Church in Acton, Texas was a common gathering place, and it was there that Jesse met the likes of Benny and Jerry Thomasson, Sleepy Johnson, Dale Morris Sr., Wallace and Dale McPherson, and Texas Shorty and his brother, Robert Chancellor.  One time, after Jesse had played “Leather Britches”, a voice behind him exclaimed “By doggies, right there is the best Mears fiddler of ‘em all!” He turned around to discover the voice belonged to Benny Thomasson. Jesse had actually learned some of his licks off of one of Benny’s recordings.  He was honored by the compliment but later confessed that had he known the great Benny Thomasson was standing behind him and listening, he probably would have been too nervous to play the tune. It was also at Falls Creek that Sleepy Johnson taught Jesse to play “Old Sport”. Afterwards, Sleepy laughingly complained that “it’s not right to teach someone a tune and then they play it back to you better than you!”  Jesse always tried to encourage the younger fiddlers at the jams including Randy Elmore, Valerie Ryals and Tommy Hughes. Valerie commented that in those days, there not many female fiddlers. She has appreciated Jesse for always treating her fairly and for his willingness to help her with her music.

    In addition to the house parties and jam sessions, Jesse began to enter various fiddle contests scattered throughout Texas.  At the time, almost every small town had some kind of festival which hosted a contest. Some of the more notable contests were Athens, Gilmer, Alvarado, Hallettsville, De Leon, Crocket, Gatesville and more recently Bowie.  Jesse entered and won his fair share of these contests as evidenced by his collection of trophies, belt buckles and plaques. It was at these contests that he met and was duly impressed by Omega Burden, the Franklin family (Major, Ray, Royce, Louis, and Larry) and his long-time friend and rival, E. J. Hopkins.   During this time, Red Steely introduced Jesse to Norman and Vernon Solomon. An up tempo fiddler himself, Jesse always admired the Solomon’s drive and finesse. One time at a contest, Jesse was in need of an accompanist and spied Bill Mitchell. At the time, Jesse did not know Bill that well so he wanted to clue him in on his playing style.  When Jesse informed Bill that he played up tempo and faster that most fiddlers, Bill responded, “I don’t think it will be a problem. I played with Norman Solomon for twenty five years!”

    In August of 1970, Jesse suffered a great personal tragedy.  His best friend and guitar player, Herschel Simmons, and Herschel’s wife, Hazel, were killed in a car accident.  The loss was so devastating to Jesse that he put up his fiddle and decided that he could never enjoy playing again.  After a year or so had passed, Vernon Solomon urged Jesse to drag his fiddle out and rekindle his love for music. He told Jesse that he was too good of a fiddler not to keep playing.      It was Vernon’s persistence and friendship that finally convinced Jesse to continue with his music.

    By this time, Jesse was raising three sons.  They became his built-in accompanists and traveled to contests with him.  In 1982, Jesse recorded his first album “Family Tradition”. His sons provided the rhythm for the album – Jesse Jr (guitar), Tony (tenor guitar) and Mark (mandolin).  Somewhere along the way, Jesse met Kathy McVicker and she became his lifelong friend, accompanist and companion. Her Texas style chord progressions on the tenor guitar influenced Jesse to make subtle improvements and changes to his style of fiddling.  In 2006, she encouraged him to record the CD “Done and Gone Fiddlin” which featured Jesse, Kathy, and their talented musician friends Steve Williams, Royce Franklin, and Jacob Johnson.

     Throughout the years, Jesse played with several different country and western bands including Rambling Rhythm, the Country Westerners, and the Southlanders before forming his own seven piece band, Jesse Mears and Fiddlin’ Fever.  His breakdown fiddling had always been heavily influenced by two fiddle greats – Benny Thomasson and Terry Morris. These band gigs exposed Jesse to another form of fiddling and other musicians. He is proud to have played with guitarist/vocalist Mike O’Daniel, steel guitar player Albert Talley, and piano player, Bill Thacker.  In 2004, Jesse was inducted into the Country Music Association of Texas Hall of Fame.

    Sometimes, these country bands would have the opportunity to back up music celebrities.   On one such occasion, the band backed up the infamous fiddler, Johnny Gimble. Someone in the crowd requested a breakdown, and when Jesse took off on “Sally Johnson”, Johnny put down his fiddle and picked up his mandolin.  At the conclusion of the tune, Johnny remarked, “That Jesse plays with authority!” Jesse has always impressed his fellow musicians and fans with his flexible wrist and bow arm. Once when judging a fiddle contest, Johnny Gimble kept calling Jesse and his competitor back for play offs.  The competition was so close that Johnny was having a difficult time determining a winner, but he ultimately decided that the winner was Jesse. Johnny later confided to Jesse that he finally broke the tie by giving Jesse an extra half point for his flexible wrist.

     A long-time resident of Alvarado, Jesse frequently attended the annual Pioneer and Old Settlers Reunion. A fiddle contest is always held in conjunction with the festival.  The festival originated in 1892 and celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1992.  For the centennial celebration, the Reunion Committee commissioned Johnny Bryant to sculpt a bronze statue of a fiddler.  At first, he sketched out a drawing of a laughing, almost clownish fiddler. The Committee reminded Mr. Bryant that Texas fiddlers are very serious about their music.  In order to capture a more realistic image, Mr. Bryant used Jesse as his model for the sculpture. Jesse was very honored that he could represent Texas fiddlers and his home town in such a manner.

     As previously stated, Jesse has always tried to encourage the young fiddlers.  In the early jam sessions, he traded tunes and licks with the up and coming talents Randy Elmore, Valerie Ryals and Tommy Hughes.  And he continues to motivate musicians today. Keenan Fletcher claims that she was inspired to transition from classical violin to old time Texas fiddling after listening to Jesse’s fiddle CD “Done and Gone Fiddlin”.  After an initial phone conversation, Jesse helped get Keenan started on a few breakdowns and then introduced her to his fiddling friends and the TOTFA community. His musical influence even has international ties. Paul Inbar of Israel learned “Cattle in the Cane” after listening to Jesse’s version of the song on You Tube.  They have since spoken on the phone and have remained connected via the Internet. Jesse is amazed by today’s young and talented musicians including River Lee, Hyatt Hopkins, the Nuggent sisters, Mia Orosco, Katie Crawford, Jessica Sell, Ben McPherson, Leah and David Sawyer, Michael and Douglas Thompson, and Ridge Roberts – just to name a few!  Jesse is confident that the future of Texas fiddling is in young, capable hands.

     Jesse Mears loves to fiddle, loves to listen to fiddle music, and loves the comradery of the musicians.  Whether it’s at a small jam in Glen Rose with Marty McPherson, Marty and Randy Elmore, Valerie Ryals, and Dennis Sparks or at a major jam session at his lake house, Fiddler’s Point, he is in his element around music.  He has always been thankful for the many friends and associations he has made through his music. Along with the other musicians already mentioned here, Jesse wants to recognize the musical talents of such friends as Wes Westmoreland, Dale Morris Jr., Carl Hopkins, Rex Gillentine, Bobby Christman, Lydia Ryals Stuart, Anthony Mature, Bubba Hopkins, Joey McKenzie, Gordon Townsend, Jason Andrews and so many more.  Fiddling has not only been a fulfilling hobby for Jesse, fiddling has created lifelong friendships and opportunities to associate and share music with some of the finest musicians in Texas. He is grateful to the Fryer family for their continued support of Texas fiddle music and in particular, the Hallettsville contest. Jesse Mears is both honored and humbled to be the 2017 inductee to the Fiddlers Hall of Fame, and he would like to sincerely thank all those responsible for this award.

Henry Clay Gilliand 2016










Henry Clay Gilliand Inducted 2016

Gordon Townsend 2015

     Gordon Townsend was born in Aransas Pass on October 24, 1953, to
Lilly Fay (Pat) and John Townsend. He has one sister, Rhonda Aldridge
that lives in Louisiana with her family. Ay a very young age, Gordon
acquired the nickname “Skull” from his dad, which most all of his
friends continue to use today.
     Taught by his father, Gordon started playing the fiddle in 1960 at the
age of seven. He learned to play the instrument very quickly and not
long after found himself standing in the front yard of Major Franklin;
waiting on him to get home from work. When Major got home, he
stepped out of his car, sat his lunch box on the ground and grabbed the
fiddles. That is where Gordon learned Forked Deer and then later that
night, everyone ended up at Omega Burden’s house for an all night jam
     Gordon’s first fiddle contest was in Deleon, Texas in 1962. Only three
years later in 1965, after many hours of practice, Gordon went on to
win the “World Champion” title in Crockett, Texas along with “Fiddler of
the Day”. The prize back in those days was a white sack filled with
twenty-five silver dollars. To this day, Gordon still owns a dozen of
them. The rest he has given away as tokens of friendship through the years. The next year he tried his luck in the
National Fiddle Contest in Weiser, Idaho where he got 3rd place with Byron Berlin winning the championship.
One of Gordon’s most memorable fiddling experiences was in 1968, when he was invited, along with E.J.
Hopkins, Louis Franklin, Larry Franklin, Dave Davison, A.R. Westmoreland, Buddy Weeks and many more to play
four days during the opening of the HemisFair in San Antonio, Texas. They also got the special opportunity to
play for Governor John Connolly at a banquet the night before the fair opened.
Gordon has had many great influences on his fiddling. Frank and Eddy Rose, along with Jake Glidewell have an
early influence. They were some of the musicians who lived most near his hometown. I know from being around
Gordon that a couple of his favorite fiddle players were Major Franklin and Terry Morris, just to mention a
     At the age of nineteen, Gordon started working the pipeline which took away time from his fiddle playing. In
1986 he went to work for the prison system in Huntsville, where he retired in 2006. Gordon was reunited with
old friends and started making many new friends in 1988 when his love for Texas breakdowns led him to pick up
his fiddle again. A turning point in his life happened in 1996 when Gordon became a Brother Mason which
continues to be a cornerstone in his life. In addition to music, he likes spending his time hunting, fishing and
being outdoors.
     Twenty years ago Gordon moved to Point Blank, Texas. His house is on six acres at the top of a hill with lots of
fruit trees, a workshop and a garden. It is a nice place to spend your time if you like the shaded outdoors.
Gordon is a most worthy and deserving inductee into the Texas Fiddlers Hall of Fame this year – and what a
great honor for him to be inducted with his dad, the person that got him started on the fiddle. Congratulations
my friend.

Carl Hopkins

John Townsend 2015

      John was born on August 16, 1926 to Elmer and Lois Townsend in
Chicota, Texas. He first heard the fiddle as a young boy while
listening to the Grand Ole Opry on the radio and from that
moment on, he developed a love for Old Time Fiddling. At the age
of 14, he saved up enough to acquire his first fiddle and taught
himself to play both the fiddle and guitar. He was heavily
influenced by Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys, along with many
     After graduating from Chicota High School, he was drafted into
service during World War II, but luckily was just out of basic
training when the war ended. He then moved to Aransas Pass,
Texas and started working at the Reynolds Aluminum Plant. Soon
after he met his one true love, Pat and they were married in 1952.
The two had a son, Gordon and a daughter, Rhonda, and resided
in Aransas until his retirement 34 years later.
     John began playing, judging and accompanying other fiddlers in
contests throughout Texas in the early sixties and continued
throughout his life. He held many jam sessions at his home over
the years. John was known for welcoming any musician into his home at any time. He considered them part of
his “Music Family”. His wife, Pat, was only too happy to keep everyone fed and many enjoyed themselves while
fiddling went well into the night. He couldn’t have been happier than when his son Gordon started playing the
fiddle around age seven, and they competed in many contest over the years. What could be more satisfying
than being able to share his love of the fiddle with his only son? John was always ready to help anyone
interested in learning to play and many came to him for instruction over the years. Keeping the tradition alive
was extremely important to him.
     John has a great deal of admiration for Major Franklin, a well-known fiddler inducted in the Hall of Fame in
1979. His greatest moments were spent at jam sessions either playing or listening to Major accompanied by
Omega Burden playing “Billy in the Low Ground” and “Durang’s Hornpipe”.
After retirement, John and Pat moved to Kirbyville, Texas where they lived until his death in 1994. He continued
to attend and play in contests, jam sessions, town parades, firemen auxiliary functions and nursing homes until
his illness would not permit.
     In addition to playing the fiddle, John was known for his generosity and willingness to aid any musician who
needed his help. Over the years, he gave away many fiddles to those who couldn’t afford to buy their own. His
greatest friends were the musicians he played with through the years. He would have been so proud and
honored to be inducted into the Hall of Fame for something he loved so much, let alone being inducted with his
son. Without a shadow of doubt, John Townsend is in Heaven beaming with pride.

Rhonda Townsend Aldridge

Johnny Crisp 2014


      Otha L. (Johnny) Crisp was born January 25, 1927 to Dee and
Whitney Crisp in Etoile, Texas. He had four brothers and five
sisters. In 1944, at age seventeen he joined the U. S. Navy,
served four years, came home only to find that his brothers had
joined the US Army. He decided to join the US Army and
served another four years for his beloved country.. He is one of
the few surviving WWII Veterans. He is a lifetime member of
VFW Post 581, Houston, Texas.
     He taught himself to play the guitar even “made” one using
“screen wire” for strings and remembers buying his first one for
$4.00. His love for playing has never left him. He enjoyed
playing while serving his Country. The hardest thing for him to
cope with since becoming ill, was his not being able to play guitar.
He retired from Hudson Machine Works as a Machinist, First
Class, after forty years of service.
     He is an avid golfer and bowler for many years and enjoyed both
until about a year ago when he became unable to participate.
He married Margie in 1952 and they had two sons, Steve and Jason. Both sons are musically talented. They
have seven grandchildren, Noah, Naomi, Rachel and Amber from Steve and Shelli, Brittany, Miranda and
Jacy from Jason and Missy, and four great-grandchildren, Owen and Desmond, from Naomi and Sean and
Jacob and Leah from Rachel and Keith.
     When Jason started playing the fiddle, Johnny took him to all the various contests, playing guitar for him
along with his dear friend, James Mature, and they also played for other fiddlers that needed “back-up”.
Cutest story ever, one evening there was a knock at their front door…..there stood Robert Mature!
Margie answered the door and Robert, with fiddle in hand, said, does “your Daddy play guitar”? I
answered, “no, but my husband does”, to which he responded, “Well, I play the fiddle and I need a guitar
player”! One of his favorite fiddlers was A. R. Westmoreland and he accompanied him on many occasions.
A. R., (Ozzie) and Jason would play local Nursing Homes with Johnny playing guitar for them. He also
enjoyed accompanying E. J. Hopkins in contests but enjoyed the “jamming” with E. J., Dan Weaver and
Curtis. What good times these were.
     He has a deep love for his Country, family and friends, all being an important part in his life.
O.L.(Johnny) Crisp is one of the finest men to have walked on this earth.

Jason Crisp 2014

          Jason Allen Crisp was born June 23rd 1967 in Houston, Texas. He is the second son of O.L. “Johnny” and Margie Crisp. His father and brother, Stevie, both accomplished musicians in their own right, were Jason’s first musical influences. In fact, the family thought that Jason was going to be the third “guitar picker” in the family but that all changed around 1973 or 74 on a hot, humid, Texas evening at Proctor Park in Houston, Texas. This is where Jason’s musical journey took an unexpected turn. You see, there was a “fiddling” taking place at this city park. A lot of the greats were there….E.J. Hopkins, Bill Northcutt, and A.R. Westmoreland just to name a few. Johnny was there playing guitar for some of the fiddlers that attended. At age seven, Jason was just running around with all the other kids in attendance…not paying the music much attention. The local PBS station was there filming and the show was broadcast as“Fiddling Under a Texas Moon”.

     When Johnny and Jason returned home later that night, after taking a much needed bath, as little boys tend to get filthy, he was getting ready for bed and told his Mommy and Daddy that he wanted to “play the fiddle”. E.J. Hopkins referred Johnny to Bill Northcutt. Bill was enthusiastic about helping Jason get started.  Johnny would drive Jason to Fiddle and Bow music. This was Bill’s music store in East Houston. This place became a mecca of fiddling and bluegrass. Every Saturday, the store would be full of great musicians and Johnny would take Jason to watch and hear all these great folks. Johnny would also take Jason to A.R. Westmoreland’s house in Houston. He mainly listened and watched while they played.
       Jason graduated from Sam Houston State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1992. While
attending college, Jason, Anthony and Matt Hartz lived together in Oakhurst, TX. There’s not enough time
today to go into all that but I can assure you, it was a blast! After college, he began playing in local country
bands in the Texas area. He found that he could make money playing the fiddle and not have to get a “real
Job”. In the early 90’s Jason opened Fiddlin Around in New Waverly, TX. It was a place that he could
give lessons and sell strings and what not. Well, that didn’t quite pan out so it was time to start making a
     Jason has been employed in the Automotive Sales business since 1997. For the past six years, he
has worked at Buckalew Chevrolet in Conroe, TX as an Automotive Finance Manager. He and his lovely
wife Missy have a wonderful family of three girls, Brittany, Mandy, and Jacy and reside in Montgomery, TX.
     Jason’s induction into the Hall of Fame alongside Johnny is very special to him. His induction also
would not be complete without acknowledging the following folks. His parents, Johnny and Margie for the
undying support, his wonderful wife Missy and their girls (Britt, Mandy, and Jacy), The Matures, The
Hopkins, The Williams, The Fryers, The Brothers Morris, The Franklins…all of em, The Solomons,
Bobby Christman, Rex Gillentine, Jim Reina and all of his “Fiddling Family”….there are just too many
people to mention that have helped and encouraged him along the way. And he would also like to thank
his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For without HIM, none of this would have been possible.

Wade Stockton 2013



Wade Stockton
Inducted 2013


Wade Stockton was born on February 25, 1960 in Victoria, Texas.  The only child of Marshall and Mary Stockton, Wade exhibited an artistic talent at an early age by drawing and painting, taking lessons that continued all the way through school. But by junior high, Wade started playing music.  He played guitar in a garage band for school events and the local hootenanny.  Then one day his Pap-paw took him over to Jake Glidewell’s house to accompany him.   Jake must’ve liked his playing because he started taking Wade around to jam sessions, rest homes and other musical get-togethers. On the 4th weekend of April in 1974,  however, Wade saw and heard something that would change his life forever.  That’s right, his Mom and Dad took him to Hallettsville for the Fiddlers Frolics.   Seeing Dale Morris swoon the ladies and hearing Randy Elmore and Terry Morris was more than he could stand. Wadejust had to learn to fiddle!  He got his first fiddle the day he got out of 8th grade.   When Wade makes up his mind to do something, he usually does it. So when most kids were outside playing and enjoying their summer, Wade was holed up in his bedroom with a fiddle and a record player trying to learn tunes. The fiddle bug had officially bit!

Within months, he started competing.  His Dad probably put a million miles on that old station wagon, hauling him to two or three contests almost every weekend. With a lot of help along the way from fiddlers like Bill Gilbert, Bill Cox, Parvin Hoffman and Terry Morris, he started winning some contests. And he certainly couldn’t have done it without the help of Cliff Fryer, who always made sure he had a good fiddle to play.

Wade has also been willing to help out and judge, too. He’s judged everywhere from the World Championships in Crockett, Texas, to the Grand Master in Nashville, and the Fiddlers’ Frolics in Hallettsville, even becoming Emcee of the Fiddlers’ Frolics.

After years of competition, Wade decided to start playing in bands. He loves playing in front of a lively crowd and has been fortunate enough to do so and record with some of the finest musicians and singers in the world, on stages far and abroad.   In addition, Wade teaches fiddle, guitar and mandolin lessons several nights a week, and has been blessed with some awesome students over the years, some of whiom have competed on this very stage in Hallettsville.

In the fall of 1993, Wade married the love of his life Melinda Harbour. Wade also has three beautiful children, Cody Stockton, Randi Stockton and Brandon Kowalik, all of which play music and are very talented. Wade loves to hunt and ride motorcycles. He may be the only fiddler to have ever gone 212.7 mph on a motorcycle in a standing mile. Wade is also a proud member of Goliad Masonic Lodge No. 94.