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Our 2018 Fibbers
Frank Causey • Lawrenceville, Ga.
Frank has been a storyteller for almost twenty years. Whether its at the podium at Toastmasters or on stage at venues like Stories on the Square, Frank entertains. And his tales are apt to be quite tall. How tall is his tale? He’s learned from the dean of American storytelling. Three times he has attended Donald Davis’s famous week-long storytelling workshop. Frank came in third in the 2015 Big Fibbers Contest. Can he move up to take the top prize this time around?
Darrell Fedchak • Silver Bay, NY
Darrell Fedchak has been telling stories for most of his life, often at summer camp as “DJ” or “Davy Jones,” everyone’s favorite camp counselor. Many of his stories come from real life experiences, with a healthy dose of “fibbing” thrown into the entertainment mix. He writes children’s books, and nowadays has a dedicated audience of three little girls who are delighted by the madcap predicaments their Dad can get into.
Walter Freeman • Loganville, GA
Once his boss at the time, coaching him for an important presentation, declared Walter Freeman a storyteller. It was not a compliment. Now he wears the title proudly asr our reigning 2017 Big Fibber. He grew up in Georgia, but then “fell in with a bad crowd” and retired as a chemical company executive in Delaware.. Can Walter defend his title and continue wearing the Whopper Hat?
Pepper Hagebak | LaGrange, Ga.
Pepper grew up sitting under her Grandmaw’s big old antique dining room table, listening to stories. Her grandmother and “Mama” could talk for hours, regaling company or just one another, or the refrigerator, if no one else was available, about family history or fixes they’d gotten themselves into. Pepper says, “I am a writer, but telling stories was so familiar to me that I didn’t even know I was a storyteller until I was invited to speak in front of a group about a column I had written.” She was raised in LaGrange, GA and went all the way through school in that beautiful little town that she still calls home.. I’m a proud member of the Azalea Storytelling Committee, and a two-time attendee of the Donald Davis Summer Workshop held in LaGrange every July. This great picture of Pepper is by Whit Perry.
Ron Kemp | Roswell, Ga.
Ron Kemp specializes in original humorous stories from small town America. He also creates his own adaptations of traditional stories. He has been an active storyteller for over 20 years for churches and civic organizations as well as several storytelling festivals in the southeast, including the Peach State festival in Atlanta.
Melanie Knauff | Dahlonega, Ga.
“After accidentally setting fire to a gas station, romping around the pyramids on a camel, and hiking a trail 1,500 off the canyon floor by hanging onto chains embedded in the mountain…” Melanie moved from sunny South Florida to Dahlonega, Georgia to lead a more calm life. Fortunately, she brought crazy with her and it comes through in her stories. She is zany, loaded with energy and full of pun fun. Retired after 22 years of teaching, she is hitting the stage and making crowds laugh and cry.
Denise Mount | Lawrenceville, Ga.
A member of the Southern Order of Storytellers, Denise Mount is co-founder along with her husband, Mike Mount, of Stories on the Square in Gwinnett County. She is the elder half of the Raconteuses storytelling duo with her daughter, Sarah Beth Nelson. She prefers personal stories, but also enjoys giving her own spin to an urban legend or two. Now she will try a great big whopper!
Mike Mount | Lawrenceville, Ga.
Mike, cofounder with Denise and emcee of Stories on the Square – Gwinnet, says he has “… never told a story in my life.” Add to that bald-faced statement his nativity and raisin’ in the great state of Alabama and anyone will know the man is qualified for this contest.
Kanute Rarey | Haysville, NC.
Story teller, traveler, writer and teacher, Kanute was born and raised on a farm in rural Ohio. He moved to the mountains as soon as he could and for over twenty-five years has frequented the mountains of Georgia, North Carolina and Alaska. Most of his stories are true. “..more or less.” He has studied storytelling with Elizabeth Ellis and Bill Lepp and performed at the Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival, the Moth StorySlam in Asheville, and the John C. Campbell Folk School. He hones his skills at Clay and Cherokee County care centers and schools. He claims to be “head-liner” at Pat’s Barber Shop in Hayesville.
Tim Rouse | Bristol, TN.
Tim is happily married and unendingly apologetic to his “long-suffering wife, Lidany.” He has five daughters, a brand new granddaughter, and three dogs. Tim loves nothing more than to hear people laugh. He says laughter is the “song that your soul sings.” Tim grew up hearing the stories of his family and he swears it’s all true “. . . mostly!” Tim is a writer/editor and the author of a series of western novels.
Leslie Shelley | Ball Ground, Ga.
Leslie Shelley grew up in the midst of a large rural family in the foothills of North Georgia on a portion of the farm passed down since the 1800s. Life on the farm was filled with tale tales, tragic life stories, and friends and family made bigger, better, or worse by the stories and adventures that filled out days. She has a passion for a good tale, and loves the look of life in the eyes of the audience in the midst of her rollicking tales. Most of her stories, she says, “… are from bits and pieces of my actual life with lots of grains of sand mixed in, or really Georgia red dirt.”
John Schulz | Rome, Ga.
John has proven that, with a six-year English degree from UGA, a garbage truck driver can become an English teacher. That six years, he says, was four years of study and two years trying to find a place to park. “The teaching thing didn’t last and I became a landscape person and spent the next 35 years trying to make a living at it. I may decide to call it a career some day. In the nineties to the early turn of the century I went to live with the rednecks. I documented that experience in two books, “Requiem for a Redneck” and “Redemption for a Redneck.” These two books form the Redneck Trilogy. My third book, after I became a cancer survivor is “Sweetie Drives on Chemo Days.–Facing Cancer with Humor and Optimism.” Dekie Hicks keeps John straight most of the time. She is his wife with whom he “is well pleased”.