Mike Sumner

A thirty-eight year old IT Systems Manager from Interlochen, MI by the name of Mike Sumner took first place in the National Bluegrass Banjo Contest in 2007. This was Mike’s third time to enter the contest having placed second in 2000 and first in 2001. Mike said, “I set a goal of returning and winning this contest for a second time.” And that he did. He has been playing the banjo almost as many years as he has been alive. In addition to the banjo Mike also plays the guitar. His dad, who also plays the banjo, gave him a starter banjo when he was 8-years old and he was hooked on the instrument. Sumner said, “It’s kind of neat to play music with your father.” One of his favorite things to do while at the Festival is to jam with people from all across the country. By the way, don’t take him on in golf unless you have a really low handicap, because he is good. He is a recent IBMA Golf Champion. Mike recently recorded his first CD entitled “Winds of Winfield.” Assisting him on this CD was a few well known artists like Cody Kilby on guitar, Andy Leftwhich on mandolin and fiddle, Bryn Davies on bass, and Randy Kohrs on dobro. Ironically that’s the title of the song he played in the finals for the 2007 first place finish in this contest. Sumner is a busy man for when he’s not working he also plays in a band called “Detour.” For his efforts he chose an Ome Megatone Bluegrass Banjo by Ome Banjos of Boulder, CO.