After three 3rd place finishes in the National Mountain Dulcimer Contest here at the Walnut Valley Festival Joe Collins of Shelby, NC finally took first place in 2007. The first place trophy, $150 and a 4FHKK Custom Mountain Dulcimer by the The Dulcimer Shoppe/McSpadden of Mountain View, AR, went to Joe. Joe is a veteran of this contest having placed third in this contest in 2004, 2005 and 2006. Joe has been playing this instrument for 29 years. He was first introduced the the Mt. Dulcimer by a high school friend, Ellen Fishbwine. She had one and told Joe she wanted him to teach her to play this instrument. Joe said, “I had no idea what it was, so she sent it home with me where I learned to play it and fell in love with it.” His own first Mt. Dulcimer was a Father’s Day present from his family. Joe is a multi-talented individual; he is a pastor, he has his Doctorate in Education and he currently teaches religion at Gardner-Webb University of Boiling Springs, NC. Joe considers teaching Sunday School one of his favorite hobbies. And yes, he thinks he’ll be back to Winfield again but this time to jam with old friends.