Ziff Banjo Champ

Professor Bruce Ziff takes 1st place at 2011 Kentucky State Old Time Banjo Championship.

Katherine Thompson - 16 September 2011

When Bruce Ziff returned from his research trip to Kentucky he brought back more than archival materials. During a weekend break from his study of cave disputes in south-central Kentucky, Bruce entered -- and won -- the official Kentucky State old-time banjo championship at a contest held in Roughs of Rough, Kentucky. He appears to be the first Canadian so honoured.

Bruce plays a traditional style of banjo known as clawhammer, a method of playing that pre-dates bluegrass. There was a strong field in the old-time category including one former champion. Past winners include recording artist Dan Rothwell.

Professor Ziff plans to return to Kentucky in early October to continue his research. His project is a micro-history of the celebrated cases of Edwards v. Sims (1929) and Edwards v. Lee's Administrator (1936). Both involve property rights to the Great Onyx Cave, which is now part of Mammoth Cave National Park.

Bruce is currently working on his first CD.