And the Winner is....
In 2009 with encouragement from friends, Bryan took a break from performing to try his hand at competing. Over the next two years he would amass an unprecedented twenty-one first place championship wins on multiple instruments while garnering four triple crowns. You can read more on his Championships page.
Though Bryan enjoyed his stint on the contest circuit, his interest has always been in creating great music with other musicians. In 2011, he shifted his focus to include recording and teaching as well as working with various artists of regional and national renown.
In addition to becoming the newest member of the Claire Lynch Band in 2012, he enjoys occasional appearances with his friends as a member of "The Winfield Three," a trio that can be seen featured on the cover of the 2010 March/April issue of Flatpick Guitar Magazine.
2010 Georgia State Fiddle King
2010 Georgia State Flatpick Guitar Champion
and 2010 Georgia State Mandolin Champion
Bryan wrapped up another great year at the Official Georgia State Fiddler's Convention held in Hiawassee, Georgia. Bryan is pictured here thanking all those who have encouraged and supported him.
Congrats to 2010 National Mandolin Champion, Bryan McDowell (September 2010)
The Walnut Valley Festival was pleased to announce last year that 2010 would mark a new competition for the festival. The Walnut Valley Mandolin Competition became the National Mandolin Competition in 2010. Though champions of the Walnut Valley competitions normally must wait five years to compete again, the new National Mandolin Competition was open to even the 1st place winners of recent years. And needless to say, most of them showed up for a great showdown. The competition was fierce but Bryan held his own and kept his 1st place title (plus "National") for another year. Congratulations, Bryan!
Bryan McDowell 2010 Guitar Champion at Galax (August 2010)
Bryan was honored to be at the top of the list and in good company with his good buddy Brandon Davis and renowned guitar builder, Wayne Henderson, at this years guitar competitions in Galax, VA.
Another "Triple" Sweep for Bryan McDowell (July 2010)
A new record was set at the 38th Annual Rocky Grass Festival and competitions held in Colorado. The morning of July 25th, 2010, festival goers witnessed the competition finals at the main stage. In the end, Bryan took home 1st place Guitar, 1st place Banjo, and 1st place Fiddle. This Colorado road trip was well worth the drive and the festivals hospitality was great. The ever-changing beauty of their sky and the scenic views were breath-taking.
Take in this view at the entrance of Estes Park near the Rocky Mountain National Park.
Bryan McDowell 2010 Wayne C. Henderson Guitar Champion(June 2010)
On Saturday, June 19, 2010, Bryan scored yet another win at the 2010 Wayne C. Henderson Guitar Competition. As you can tell from this photo, Bryan was thrilled to win a coveted Henderson guitar.
2010 Merlefest Guitar Championship- Bryan McDowell Wins (April 2010)
After judging the mandolin competition on Thursday, Bryan went on to claim another win on Friday at the 2010 Merlefest Guitar Championship. As competition winners always perform Saturday on the Cabin Stage, Bryan McDowell - 2010 Flatpick Guitar champ, Nick Keen - 2010 mandolin champ, and Jonathan Dillon -2010 Banjo champ, dedicated their set in memory of their pickin' buddy, young Houston Caldwell who passed away the evening before. Photo courtesy of Gary Alter Photography
Bryan McDowell's TRIPLE WIN at WINFIELD !! (September 2009)
Bryan made Winfield, KS history last weekend at the 2009 38th Annual Walnut Valley Festival's National and International Competitions. He competed in fiddle, mandolin, and flatpick guitar and took 1st Place in all three! This was the first time anyone had ever won three Winfield competitions in the same year.
Bryan said the only thing that he would have wanted as much, was for his best buddies to win it with him. Ironically, Brandon Davis came in 2nd on flatpick guitar and Eric Hardin came in 3rd on flatpick guitar. These guys both play in the same band with Bryan, "Second Circle". Eric plays banjo with the band while Brandon does guitar and Bryan is on fiddle.