Our 2019 Fibbers
A dozen tall-tale tellers from five states will vie for the title of Biggest Fibber on Saturday, March 16, at 5 p.m. in the Rome City Auditorium. The competition is part of the Big Fibbers Storytelling Festival taking place in Rome March 15-17, sponsored by the Ridge & Valley Storytelling Guild. Tickets are $10 for the fibbers contest and are available online at www.bigfibbers.come or at the door.
The Big Fibbers Festival also includes performances on Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. by nationally known storytellers Bil Lepp and Andy Offutt Irwin. A full-festival pass is $25 online or $35 at the door.
Contenders in the Big Fibbers contest include:
Gary Buchanan, Creston, WV — Gary placed third in the West Virginia Liar’s Contest in 2000, his first foray into competitive lying. He has since placed first in the Bold-Faced Liar’s Showdown in Laurinburg, NC and the “Mountain Mack” Liars Contest in Staunton, VA. This is his first time vying for the Whopper Hat at the Big Fibbers Festival.
.Daniel Carlin, Vista, CA —A retired carpenter, Daniel spends his time catering to a menagerie of pets, plucking his banjo, and telling stories to his grandson Mack and baby granddaughter Clementine. Daniel placed second in the 2017 Big Fibbers contest.
.Walter Freeman, Loganville, GA — Champion Big Fibber in 2017, Walter often spins yarns for events sponsored by the Southern Order of Storytellers, including Stories on the Square in Gwinnett and Stories on the Square in Grayson, GA.
Walter Freeman – Loganville, GA
.Gary Greene, Rome, GA — Known as The Grand Imagineer, Gary is a renowned teller, singer and song writer who regaled audiences at New Echota and Etowah Mounds State Parks with Cherokee stories for more than a dozen years. He is a past winner of the Big Fibbers contest.
Gary Greene – Rome GA
.Ron Kemp, Roswell, GA — Ron says, “I have spent 25 years trying to convince people that I only tell the truth.” He has been an active storyteller for over two decades, specializing in original humorous stories of small town America.
Ron Kemp – Roswell GA
.Melanie Knauff, Dahlonega, GA — Melanie will be defending her title as 2018 Big Fibbers Champion. “I am a walking catastrophe,” she says, “and not just because I once set fire to a gas station by pulling away with the pump still in my tank. At the age of 38, I became the first in my family to get a college degree. I went on to teach special education and English for 22 years. A lot of kids out there will never be the same.”
Melanie Knauff – Dahlonega GA
.Stacie Marshall, Rome, GA — Stacie grew up in Summerville, GA, listening to and telling stories on her grandparents’ porch. As an educator and literacy advocate, she now tells stories to preschoolers and students in the Rome community. She lives and works on the mountain campus of Berry college as a “dorm mama” where the students call her “mountain mama”!
Denise Mount, Lawrenceville, GA — Denise grew up in Western New York State but has lived in Georgia for 28 years. She specializes in personal tales, but makes an exception for the Big Fibbers contest. In 2018 she was first runner up for Biggest Fibber! With her husband Mike, she founded and hosts Stories on the Square in Gwinnett County and is a frequent teller there.
Mike Mount, Lawrenceville, GA — With wife Denise, Mike is cofounder and emcee of Stories on the Square — Gwinnett. He claims, “ I have never told a story in my life.” A likely story, since this will be his second appearance in the Big Fibbers contest.
Kanute Rarey, Hayesville, NC — In addition to appearances in the Big Fibbers contest, Kanute has performed at the Georgia Mountain Storytelling Festival, Texas Storytelling Festival, Stone Soup Festival, the NPR Moth StorySlam in Asheville and Burlington and more. He says, “I love the art of storytelling…bringing words to life to entertain and inspire the listener and encourage them to share their own stories with others.”
John Schulz, Rome, GA — Well known as a “plant man” and writer, John wanted to be a storyteller. “They told me after the cancer that I would not be able to do that, and that’s reason enough for me,” he says. When John entered his first Big Fibbers contest three years ago, someone asked, “John, are you going to win?” He replied, “I doubt it. But if I can stand up in front of a hundred people and make them laugh, I will have won my personal contest.”
John Schulz – Rome GA
Paul Strickland, Covington, KY — This is Paul’s first appearance at Big Fibbers, but far from his first tall tale. His collections of hilarious and heart-felt fantasies have won “Best of Fest” honors on 10 different occasions at Fringe Theatre Festivals across the U.S. and Canada. In 2018 Paul was an Exchange Place Teller at the National Storytelling Festival and made his NYC stage debut with his award-winning shadow and flashlight ghost story play “13 Dead Dreams of ‘Eugene’”.
Paul Strickland – Covington KY