//Winners announced in Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

Winners announced in Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest

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Photo: Winners: Emmett Carlisle, Best Song from Outside; Tracy Horenbein, Best Americana; David Rodock, First Prize and Best Song from Inside; Kyle Chamberlain, Best Folk, Kevin Stephenson, Best Country

HAHIRA – The Fifth Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest winners were announced at the WWALS fundraiser.


Everyone had a good time, it was a successful fundraiser for WWALS, and here are the winners of the Fifth Annual Suwannee Riverkeeper Songwriting Contest.

The winners were chosen by judges J.J. Rolle, Kenji Bolden, and Joe Smothers.

MC Chuck Roberts announced them in this order, as Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman handed them their prizes:

Kevin Stephenson of Valdosta, Georgia, took home a plaque for Best Country Song for “It Don’t Get No Better Than This-The Alapaha”. This is Kevin’s first year in the Contest.

Tracy Horenbein of Tallahassee, Florida, won a Best Americana plaque for “Wild and Free”. Tracy competed for the first time this year.

Emmett Carlisle won $50 and a plaque for Best Song from Outside the Suwannee River Basin with “Suwannee River Nights” Emmett also won a plaque for Best Florida Folk back in 2018.

Kyle Chamberlain of Lake Park, Georgia, won the Best Folk Song plaque “Suwannee River and Me” Kyle also won a Best Funk Song plaque in 2019.

David Rodock of Adel, Georgia, won $50 for Best Song from Inside the Suwannee River Basin and the $300 First Prize with “Take Me to the Suwannee” Last year, David won the Best Folk Song plaque. He claims this year’s winning song was “twenty minutes and a pot of coffee on a Sunday morning effort”. Imagine if he applies himself next year!

Videos of the winners will appear soon:

Valdosta Mayor Scott James Matheson drew the winning raffle ticket for the Vibe Yellowfin 120 kayak, donated by Georgia Beer Co., and worth more than $1,000.

The kayak winner is: Maya Vallotton.

Maya Vallotton was a $500 sponsor of the Contest. Thanks to her and all the other sponsors: Landis International, Blazin’ Paddles & Kayak Club of Valdosta, Imperial Auto Sales, Azalea City Music Academy, Jan Krysa, Laura D’Alisera, Christina Barnes, Gretchen Quarterman, and eight other people who bought $100 raffle tickets at the festival, including MC Chuck Roberts, Sementha Matthews, Can Leonard bought two, Bobby McKenzie, Steve Miller, Amy Meyers, and Larry Bunkley..

Steve Miller was the silent auction high bidder on two items not sold in stores: a basket of food from Okra Paradise Farms and a painting by Julie Bowland, “Tupelo Glow”, oil on canvas, 18″x24″. The painting is described by the artist as: “A Tupelo tree aglow in the late afternoon sun at the confluence of the Little and Withlacoochee Rivers. Painted from my canoe.”

The high bid was not met for the Ethan Abbott painting; apparently people didn’t realize that opportunity. Maybe he’ll let us auction it off again at a later event.

Wrapping up the festival, organizing committee Chair Angela Duncan thanked MC Chuck Roberts, all the volunteers, and WWALS Executive Director Gretchen Quarterman for keeping WWALS running.

Angela thanked the headliners, Sweet William Billy Ennis of Palatka, Florida (last year’s winner) and Dirty Bird and the Flu of Valdosta, Georgia.

She thanked the committee members, Josh Duncan, Jesse Cole, Scotti Jay, Sara Jay, Jen Anders, Sommer Anders, and Suwannee Riverkeeper John S. Quarterman, whom she called a pillar of the community.

Thanks to everybody, especially the musicians, for coming! You support the work of WWALS for fishable, drinkable, fishable water in the 10,000 square miles of the Suwannee River Basin and Estuary in Florida and Georgia.