Hardanger Fiddle Competitions in the United States

Compiled by Karin Loberg Code

Below is a list of kappleikar (contests) for traditional Norwegian fiddle and dance that were held in the United States between 1912 and 1952. The participants include some of the greatest immigrant Hardanger fiddlers of the time. For more information on these kappleiks please refer to Sound Post Vol.18, No. 1.

The Hardanger Fiddle Association of America held a fiddling competition in 1993 with four participants as part of its tenth anniversary celebration. In 2003, the program for the HFAA's AmeriKappleik included a talent showcase that was non-competitive, though otherwise conducted like a traditional kappleik. It even included a panel of Norwegian judges. Since 2003, each of our annual workshops has included an informal talent showcase as part of the multi-day program.

1912 - Stoughton, WI. Over 3,500 attended this kappleik at the Telelaget i Amerika convention.

Winner: Hans Fykerud

Participants: Fiddlers: Hans Fykerud (Stoughton, WI), Olav Ombreck (Ada, MN). Dancers: Hans Bakke

1913 - Cameron, WI. Telelaget i Amerika convention.

1914 - (location unknown)

Winner: Hans Rygh (Joice, IA)

1915 - Montevideo, MN. First official kappleik of the Hardanger Violinist Forbundet af Amerika.

Winners: Hans Rygh (Joice, IA) and Hans Fykerud (Stoughton, WI)

1916 - Thief River Falls, MN

Winner: Hans Rygh (Joice, IA)

1917 - Blair, WI

Winner: Harald Smedal (McFarland, WI)

1918 - Chippewa Falls, WI

Winner: Harald Smedal

Enlarged photo and list of participants: https://digitaltmuseum.no/021016401928/kappleik-13-juni-1918-chippewa-falls-wisconsin-vinnar-harald-smedal-bak

1919 - Crookston, MN

Winner: Harald Smedal (McFarland, WI)

1920 - Eau Claire, WI

Winner: Eilef Smedal

Enlarged photo and list of participants: https://digitaltmuseum.no/021016401920/hardanger-violinist-forbundet-of-amerika-kappleik-1920-eau-claire-wisconsin

1921 - Mt. Horeb, WI. Over 8,000 spectators were said to attend

Winners: Eilef Smedal, Harald Smedal

Enlarged photo and list of participants: https://digitaltmuseum.no/021016401919/kappleik-1921-mt-horeb-wisconsin-usa-vinnarar-eilef-smedal-og-harald-smedal

1922 - Grand Forks, ND

Winner: Harald Smedal (McFarland, WI)

1923 - Crookston, MN

Enlarged photo and list of participants: https://www.europeana.eu/en/item/2022608/TEM_B_BF_2015_001

1924 - Minneapolis, MN

Winners: Eilef Smedal, Jon Rosenlid, Dreng Ose, Olav Ombreck

Participants: Dreng Ose (Setesdal), Eilef Smedal (La Crosse, WI), Bjørgulv Bjørnaraa (Wanke, MN), Gunnar Helland, Jon Rosenlid, Olav Ormbreck (Ada, MN), Lundtveit, John Gudvangen (Chicago, IL), Kolbein Ornes, Kittil Kittelson (Kjetil "Charlie" Kjetilson), Olav Dale, Sveinung T. Innleggen, Ommund Tveitli, Helge Thoresen

1925 - (No information)

1926 - Minneapolis, MN

Winner: Gunleik Smedal (Albert Lea, MN)

1927 - Stoughton, WI

Winner: Gunleik Smedal (Albert Lea, MN)

1928 - Albert Lea, MN

Winner: Gunleik Smedal (Albert Lea, MN)

1929 - Fargo, ND

Winner: Oscar Hamrey (Ola Reishagen) (Faribault, MN)

1930 - Minneapolis, MN? - (No information)

1931 - Minneapolis, MN
Winners, Fiddle: First Class - Oscar Hamrey (Ola Reishagen) (Faribault, MN) - 1stGunnar Odden (Hazel Run, MN) - 2ndSecond Class - Steinar Odden (Hazel Run, MN) - 1st AMads Bringeland (Grandview, WI) - 1st BThird Class - I. I. Eriksen (Arpin, WI) - 1stDagny Andrea Veum Quisling (Madison, WI) - 2ndHuldrespil - Oscar Hamrey (Ola Reishagen) (Faribault, MN) - 1stWinners, Dance: Valdresspringar - Knut Ødegaard and Mrs. Cecilia Simennes (Minneapolis, MN) - 1stTelespringar - Harald Særsland (Sersland) (Minneapolis, MN) and Dagny Andrea Veum Quisling (Madison, WI) - 1stMr. and Mrs. Ingebret Gunderson (Rochester, MN) - 2nd(Setesdal)gangar - Mr. and Mrs. Bjørgulv Bjørnaraa (Wanke, MN) - 1st

1932 - (No information)

1933 - Hayfield, WI - Organization renamed Spelemanns Lage av Amerika

Winner: Eilef Smedal (La Crosse, WI)

1934 - Crookston, MN

Winner: Eilef Smedal (La Crosse, WI)

1935 - (No information)

Winners, Fiddle: No information

Winners, Dance:

Springar - Eilef Smedall (Smedal) and Mrs. H. DahlMr. and Mrs. Hermann Karlsgodt(Setesdal)gangar - Mr. Bjørgulv Bjørnaraa (Wanke, MN) and Mrs. Ed Evinson

1936 - (No information)

1937 - Grand Forks, ND

Winner: Olav Ormbreck

Participants, front row, from left to right: Olav Dale, Sveinung Braaten, Bjørgulv Bjørnaraa, Sam Sørenson(?), Steinar Odden. Back row, from left: Kolbein Ornes, Gunnar Odden, unidentified, Olav Ormbreck(?) (Ada, MN), unidentified, Hans Fykerud.

1938 - Park River, ND

Winners: Steinar Odden (Hazel Run, MN) and Olav Ormbreck (Ada, MN)

1939 - Fosston, MN - 400-500 people attended this kappleik.

Winner: Gunnar Odden (Hazel Run, MN)

1940 - Northwood, ND

Winners: Olav Ormbreck (Ada, MN), Gunnar Odden (Hazel Run, MN)

1941 - (No information)

Winners: Olav Ormbreck (Ada, MN), Gunnar Odden (Hazel Run, MN), Olav Dahle

1942-1951 - No kappleiks were held

1952 - Benson, MN

Winner: Anund Roheim

Participants: Steinar Odden (Hazel Run, MN), Anund Roheim (Great Falls, MT), Gunnar Odden (Granite Falls, MN), Jøger O. Quale (St. Paul, MN), Gullik E. Kvale (Qualey) (Camrose, Alberta, Canada), Dagny Andrea Veum Quisling (Madison, WI)