There are certain things people who knew Dale McPherson remember about him - his kind soul, giving heart and love of fiddling.

While Dale, a former county judge and owner of McPherson drilling, passed away in 1999, his legacy lives on through the Dale McPherson Memorial Fiddle Contest. The 14th annual event will be held Saturday, Nov. 10 at Somervell County Expo Center.

To pay homage to Dale and the event that will bring together dozens of fiddle players from across the Lone Star State to Glen Rose, the Reporter sat down with his oldest son, Marty McPherson, to talk about his father and the upcoming contest.

Namesake

Dale was born and raised in the local area and started playing fiddle alongside his father, Wallace McPherson, when he was just a boy.

Saying his father played the fiddle nearly all his life, Marty remembers accompanying his dad to another annual fiddle contest decades ago.

"That was about 40 or so years ago," Marty said. "There used to be a fiddle contest under the gazebo at the downtown square. I remember being out there when I was about eight years old."

Marty said the old fiddle contest ended as folks lost interest in the music, but those folks did not include Dale.

"Dad got ahold of the Texas Old Time Fiddlers Association (TOTFA) and found there was one weekend when another contest was not being held - the second Saturday in November - at the end of the contest season," he said.

So, in 1997, less than two years prior to his passing, Dale breathed life back into the Glen Rose competition and found it a new home at the expo center.

Marty's son, Ben, a fifth generation fiddler, began playing when he was about three years old and his one of the faces you'll always see at the annual contest.

"I don't think he's missed a year yet," Marty said.

While it's tough to talk about, he also said Dale virtually played the fiddle until the day he died.

"Dad had a stroke and had been doing okay," Marty said. "A friend came to the house, and they played a tune. The next day, he had to be taken to the hospital in Fort Worth where passed away two days after that last jam session."

In honor of Dale, his family renamed the contest and thus the memorial contest was born.

Fiddlers

While it might be hard to believe a boy started playing a fiddle before he was even five years old, Marty said youth entrants are common to the competition. The contest is broken into four age classes - 0-10 years old, 11-20, 21-59 and 60 and over, and there's also an open class.

"I am very proud of how many youngsters have come to the contest," Marty said. "listening to the little kids is what I really enjoy."

He also said more experienced fiddlers who share their love of the music should be credited with keeping fiddle music alive.

"Yea, there are still some fiddle players in the area," Marty said. "But thank goodness for some of the teachers - fiddlers themselves - who are bringing the music back. When Ben was small, he took lessons with a lady in Burleson - my dad and granddad helped get him started. But things like this just keep going because of the teachers, one fiddler sharing what the know with the next generation."

The November 10 contest is a TOTFA sanctioned event. Fiddlers must register the day of the competition - Registration begins at 9 a.m. at the expo center and the contest kicks off at 10.

Admission is free for spectators, who are promised non-stop fiddling until the show winds down, "usually around 2 or 3 p.m."