top of page


Calling all banjo players! The inaugural Terry Baucom Banjo Championship at Doc & Rosa Lee Watson MusicFest is slated for Saturday, July 20th 2024. We have partnered with Cindy Baucom & Deering Banjo Company to pay tribute to the late, great Terry Baucom, a fantastic musician and friend of the festival. 

Enter below to be among the first group to participate in this contest. With lots of fabulous prizes, a chance to perform for world-renowned judges and the opportunity for the winner to take the Explore Boone Main Stage during the festival, this contest is one for the history books!

The contest is limited to 24 contestants. To be considered, all entries must include a submitted entry form and entry fee. Contestants must also have a valid wristband for festival entry on the day of competition.

Banjo Championship Entry Form

**Please review the official contest rules below before submitting.

I acknowledge that by participating in the Terry Baucom Banjo Championship at Doc & Rosa Lee Watson MusicFest that I am giving my permission to have my performance and image recorded (audio, video and still photography) by MusicFest personnel or contractors. MusicFest retains the right to use any recorded audio, video or image to promote Doc & Rosa Lee Watson MusicFest.

Thanks for submitting!


Terry Baucom Banjo Championship

Presented by Cove Creek Preservation & Development

Sponsored by Deering Banjo Company & Gold Tone Music Group

July 20, 2024 (11:00 AM – 4:00 PM)

Information & Rules:

  • Who can enter? All ages and skill levels are welcome to enter.

  • Who cannot enter? Anyone who is a paid performer at this year’s Doc & Rosa Lee Watson MusicFest is not eligible for entry in the competition.

  • How much does it cost? Registration for the competition is $15. Additionally, contestants must have a valid wristband for festival entry on the day of competition. Contestants will be reimbursed the entry fee ($15) after they have performed in the contest.

  • How do I enter? Contestants are highly encouraged to register online prior to the festival using the Pre-Festival Entry Form on the website (

    • On-site registration will be from 10:00 AM – 10:45 AM at the competition tent outside of the Historic Cove Creek School on Saturday, July 20, 2024.

  • Where will it be held? Inside the Historic Cove Creek School, 207 Dale Adams Rd Sugar Grove, NC 28679.

  • When will it be held?  Contestants must be present at the competition tent outside of the school at 11:00 AM for rollcall and to draw contestant numbers. Rollcall for contestants and drawing of numbers will be performed in the order in which individuals registered for the competition. The competition will begin shortly after the completion of rollcall and drawing of numbers. Contestants will perform in chronological order of their drawn number. NOTE: Depending on turnout, some numbers may be unfilled. It will be the responsibility of each contestant to stay aware of when it is their turn to perform. Any contestant who is not present when it is their turn to perform shall be considered a “no-show” and will not be allowed to make-up their performance later in the lineup. “No-shows” will not be refunded the registration fee or reimbursed for their ticket.

  • How many can enter? The contest will be limited to 24 contestants. Contestants who are not present at the competition tent located outside of the school at the time that their names are called during the rollcall will be considered “absent” and will forfeit their spot in the competition. 

    • NOTE: More than 24 individuals may register for the competition, but only 24 contestants shall be allowed in the competition. These will be the first 24 individuals who are present at the time of rollcall to secure their spot in the competition. If there should happen to be more contestants present at the time of rollcall than there are available spots in the competition, those present who do not secure a spot in the competition shall be refunded the entry fee.

  • What styles of play are accepted? For this year, the championship will be limited to 3-finger style playing. We hope in the coming years to open this up to all styles!

  • How will the competition be judged? Judging will be based upon the criteria specified within the Judges’ Score Sheet including rhythm and timing, authenticity, creativity, execution, and overall impression.  Completed judges’ score sheets will not be viewable to anyone other than the judges and competition staff. Judges may engage in discussions amongst themselves prior to finalizing the contestants selected as finalists and/or winners.

  • Who are the judges? The 2024 judges are Jens Kruger (of the Kruger Brothers), Jason Burleson (of Blue Highway), & Steven Moore (of the David Mayfield Parade).

  • How many rounds are there?

    • If nine (9) or more contestants are present: The competition will be divided into two rounds if there are 9 or more contestants present. Judges will tally scores at the conclusion of the first round and determine eight (8) finalists who will be announced to perform in the final round. In the event of a tie, or at the judges’ discretion, more than eight (8) finalists may be selected. Finalists will re-draw contestant numbers for the final round and will re-draw numbers in the order in which they appeared in the first round. NOTE: The final round will be scored independently of the first round – that is, contestants begin the final round with zero points.

    • If eight (8) or fewer contestants are present: The competition will be one round if eight (8) or fewer contestants are present, and 1st through 8th place shall be awarded accordingly.

    • Tiebreak performance: In event of a tie for final placement, or at the judges’ discretion, contestants may be requested to perform an additional tune as a tiebreaker.

  • How many songs/tunes? One instrumental song/tune should be played per contestant per round. Each contestant’s total time per round should not exceed three (3) minutes. Contestants should not sing during their performance. Contestants are encouraged not to repeat songs/tunes at any point during the competition. Tiebreaker performances of one additional tune may be requested by the judges.

  • Other general rules:

    • Contestants should not speak into the microphone during the contest. An emcee will announce the contestant number prior to the performance.

    • Contestants are permitted to perform with an instrumental accompanist, but the accompanist should not be a paid performer at this year’s Doc & Rosa Lee Watson MusicFest. An accompanist should not play lead – only backup – during the competition. Having an accompanist does not influence a contestant’s ability to score well or place in the competition. Communication between contestant and accompanist should be minimized.

    • Contestants and accompanists should only play acoustic instruments into the microphone.

    • In the event that a contestant breaks a string during the competition, or experiences some significant mechanical malfunction of their instrument, or if some other significantly disruptive event occurs that is beyond the control of the contestant (such as a power outage, sound system failure, fire alarm, etc.), the contestant may be allowed to restart the song/tune which was interrupted once the situation has been resolved.

    • The judges’ decisions are final. 

  • What are the prizes?

    • 1st place winner shall receive:

      • Terry Baucom Prototype Deering Banjo #112 (last played by Terry Baucom); courtesy of Deering Banjo Company.

      • Paige Pro Capo; courtesy of Paige Capos.

    • 2nd place winner shall receive:

      • Gold Tone Mastertone OB-Grandee Resonator Banjo; courtesy of GoldTone Music Group.

      • Paige ETI Capo; courtesy of Paige Capos.

    • 3rd place winner shall receive:

      • Gold Tone Cripple Creek Resonator Banjo – Courtesy of GoldTone Music Group.

      • Paige Capo – Courtesy of Paige Capos.

    • 4th through 8th places – Top-8 / finalist honorable mention prizes TBD; Top-8 but did not place in the Top 3.

  • When will winners be announced? Winners will be announced on the main stage at 6:00pm. The 1st place winner will be requested to perform a five (5) minute set on the main stage at the time of the announcement.


bottom of page