Yes, Wayne won.
The Utah State Instrument Championship is much more than a state championship. It's a regional competition supported by the Intermountain Acoustic Music Association (IAMA) wrapped up with the Mountain Music Festival.
With this win, Wayne has been invited to compete at the international Wallnut Valley championship in September where the winner receives a prestigious recording contract. He is one of 40 who will compete from around the world.
Most don't know the story behind Wayne's acceptance of the blue ribbon and Breedlove OM Passport on Sunday afternoon in Snowbird as the 2010 Utah State Instrumental Fingerstyle Guitar Champion.
What an adventure the weekend turned out to be.
A typical trip from Idaho to Utah usually takes 5 ½ hours. Ours took 29 hours.
It's a very good thing we decided to leave on Friday, well in advance of the fingerstyle competition, which began on Sunday, July 11th at 9:00 am.
We had a day of car trouble in Burley, Idaho. Please see our list of special thanks to the wonderful citizens of Burley below. Without them we would not have arrived in Utah at all.
The morning of the competition it rained off and on. It was cold in the mountain. Cold and wet are not ideal for keeping hands limber or keeping wooden instruments in tune. Both of which are essential for fingerstyle guitar. During Wayne's final rehearsal, a fingernail chipped.
He smoothed the nail as best he could then rushed to check in at the event center.
When he arrived he noticed the posted rules. Unfamiliar rules. Wayne had prepared a beautiful 4 ½ minute Alex Degrassi piece called Causeway with Inverness as a back up song. That was our
understanding of the rules: 1 song, 5 minutes, and 1 song as a back up in case of a tie.
The rules posted clearly stated that the entrant will play 2 songs in 5 minutes with a clear, defined break in between--no talking, no medley and no going over 5 minutes.
It was clear that the song Wayne had prepared for months would not work. It could not be easily scaled down or rushed to less than half its normal length. And Inverness wouldn't do either.
So, as any true competitor would, he picked two songs from his repertoire that were the right length and near the same tuning. The nine competitors drew numbers from a hat to set the order of performance.
It began to rain harder and the wind blew into the outdoor event center. A chill set in, and Wayne had packed his jacket in the suitcase, which was now in the trunk of the car in the auxiliary parking up the mountain several minutes away. But with a donated jacket and cup of hot coffee to keep his hands warm, he sat and watched as eight phenomenal competitors played two perfect songs each.
Each performer had tediously prepared their pieces, it was clear.
Wayne climbed the stairs to the stage when #9 was called. He sat, took a breath and played two songs he'd decided on less than an hour before. The Last Tree, which is a Wayne White original, and Linus and Lucy, commonly known as the Peanuts song. These were not the songs he would have chosen, but he played them with focus and determination. He finished to applause and stepped down, feeling grateful he had kept it together in front of the audience and feeling grateful they had listened.
After a moment or two, the judges indicated that they needed a tie breaker between contestants 3 and 6. We were sure the tie breaker was to determine first place because both performers were excellent.
The emcee appeared with a stack of ribbons and certificates after 3 and 6 had finished their second pieces. To our surprise, #3 received third place and #6 received second. Wayne leaned over and said, "Maybe I should have signed up for the novice division this year." And then the emcee called his name as the first place winner. He looked around dazed for a moment and then tried to confirm from those around him that his name had been called. It had.
After 24 hours of car trouble, last minute rule realignments, rain, cold, and a broken nail Wayne White won. The 2010 Utah State Instrumental - Fingerstyle Guitar Champion.
We're glad we didn't know before having to perform, but two former National Champions were amoung the nine competitors this year. Three others had placed in this compeition in previous years.
Special thanks to all Burley-ites for making our 24 hour delay with you a very pleasant one.
Tow Truck driver - Special thanks go out to the really nice tow truck driver who responded to our AAA request when the car wouldn't start after a fill up. You gave us a jump and advice to go to Checker.
Extra thanks to the nice people who recognized us as out-of-towners and stopped over to give advice and shoot the bull a little. You helped us smile through the stress.
Checker Auto - Thanks to the amazing and dedicated service men at Checker for testing our engine and replacing our battery.
Thanks to the nice local guy who called us "2C-ers" and directed us to the Way Side diner. It was delicious.
Way Side Diner - The food at the diner was excellent and large. Comfort food was needed and you came through. Even in the middle of lunch rush the service came with a smile.
Mechanic #1 - To the mechanic we first stopped at, who closed up at 1:30 on a Friday...I guess you weren't meant to solve our jerky engine/clutch/fuel filter or who-knew-what problem at that point.
Mechanic #2 - Thanks to the mechanic at the RV shop across from the Checker, which we found again after being lost in the countryside with our hobbling car for a while. He took the time to come out and mess with the throttle and look over the engine even though they only work on RVs. And thanks for the best advice of directing us to "Mitchel's" garage behind the Chevron up the street.
Loren - Oh, so many thanks to Mitchel's, which turned out to be Interstate Repair behind Chevron. Loren, who already had several bays occupied by cars to work on, hooked up that computer and diagnosed the problem then scoured the town to find the right fuel/air ratio computer chip to stop our car from giving us whiplash during its fits and starts.
Thanks for locating another chip when the first one didn't work. Sorry we held you up at work until 5:30 that afternoon and all the next morning as well
Jennifer - Our sincere thanks go to the miracle worker, Jennifer the assistant at Interstate Repair. You sat with us for hours through strike one and strike two with computer chips on Friday. You consoled us and helped us come to terms with our options at 5:10pm when we realized that the right part couldn't be delivered until Monday morning. We were sure to miss the entire championship and lose all our non-refundable money for the reservation at Snowbird. But Jennifer, who needs a raise - super problem-solver, called in favors all over the region. She called the parts warehouse in Twin Falls and convinced them to find the right part and to stay open a while longer on Friday night. She called a friend who works in Twin Falls but lives in Burley and detoured them to pick up and drop off of the part.
Thank you anonymous friend who works in Twin Falls and the parts warehouse worker.
We owe you our deepest appreciation.