Local banjo player wins national championship

Billy Cockman says he didn't scream or explode with excitement when he found out he won first place in the 42nd Walnut Valley Festival banjo championship, last week.

"I just kind of stood there and I was like, 'really?' One of the guys hit me on the back and said congrats!" Billy said Friday morning.

The engineer at Lexington Home Brands in Hildebran started playing the banjo at age 11. Billy Cockman was almost born with music in his blood. Every one of his brothers and sister and father make up The Cockman Family Band. The bluegrass group travels the country and plays a lot of local festivals together.

Billy is known as a guy too humble to acknowledge how good he really is on the banjo. "There's a lot of good players out there," Billy said.

But last week in Kansas, the best was Billy, and he has a trophy and a brand new banjo to prove it.

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