2015 Winners

Thank you again to all who participated and attended. Here are the winners of the 2015 Northwest Tall Tale Challenge!


  1. Ann Rutherford – Portland, Oregon
  2. JR Spencer – Lapwai, Idaho
  3. Bruce Wolcott – Seattle, Washington

People’s Choice

  • Jonathan Murphy – San Francisco, Washington

Angela Heiss – Jonathan and the Booger

Angie Heiss was born in London, England, and grew up in California in a very British home.  Her British grandparents, who lived with the family, had been performers in England in the early 1900’s.  There were always colorful stories around the kitchen table.  In fact, you were lucky if you could get a word in edgewise.  Angie is passionate about writing, performing, and storytelling.  She creates original stories based on her own observations, research, and life experiences which include:  living on an island in the Kingdom of Tonga, South Pacific, currently living in a historic gold-mining town in the Sierra, her eccentric family, and other wonders. This is her first visit to Medford, OR.  —  thank you, Angie Heiss
Angela Heiss

Andre Le Mont Wilson – “Sistah Cat and Brer Rat”

Born in Los Angeles to a single mother who told stories in schools and at festivals, after she died in 2012, Andre Le Mont Wilson began performing his own stories throughout the San Francisco Bay Area to extend his family’s storytelling legacy. He recently expanded to tell African and African American folktales. He swapped stories at the Bay Area Storytelling Festival, featured at the San Anselmo Storytelling Festival, headlined at the Beat Coffeehouse in Las Vegas, and competed a dozen times at the Moth Story Slams in San Francisco and Berkeley. In 2015, Changing Harm to Harmony (Marin Poetry Center Press) anthologized an excerpt of his story on bullying. In October, he will make his professional debut as a storyteller at the Berkwood Hedge School Telling Tales Festival in Berkeley. Wilson is honored to make his first performance in Oregon at the Northwest Tall Tales Challenge.

Cool Story Bro

Bruce Wolcott – Skeeter Frenzy

Bruce Wolcott is returning to storytelling after a long hiatus.  He was a performing improviser with Seattle-based TheatreSports (now Unexpected Productions), tells occasional stories in the Puget Sound area, and is a two time winner of the Northwest Folklife Festival’s Tall Tales contest.  He currently teaches visual storytelling and other related communications classes at Bellevue College in Washington State.

J.R. Spencer – The Wit and Wisdom of J.R. Spencer

J.R. Spencer is a Nez Perce/Ojibwe artisan, educator, and performing artist of native culture and living traditions of his people. Born in Santa Fe, New Mexico; he maintains residence in Lapwai, Idaho. He grew up instilled with the traditons, life ways, and music of his people. He began learning the rich traditon of native music and the flute at an early age. J.R. is happy to share his knowledge of native traditions. J.R. is currently performing on several cruise boats on the Snake river. He also travels extensively throughout the Northwest as well as around the world performing at various venues.

Brandon Spars – Honeymoon

Brandon lived and traveled extensively in Indonesia before going to UC Berkeley to earn his Masters in Southeast Asian Studies and his doctorate in Interdisciplinary Studies. He currently lives with his wife and two children in Santa Rosa, CA where he teaches high school. He spends much of his class time telling and discussing folktales from around the world, especially Indonesia. Recently he gave a TEDx talk about one of his many adventures in Sumatra (
 brandon Spars

Jonathan Murphy – Dorktales “The Three Little Hedgehogs”

Jonathan Murphy is voice over artist and children’s storyteller. He traveled throughout the San Francisco Bay Area for Theater of All Possibilities to teach and perform at elementary schools and perform on stage for Palo Alto Children’s Theater. Dorktales, classic fairy tales with a geekish twist, were created specifically for Jonathan’s talents—kooky character voices, entertaining children, physical comedy, great timing, and a cheeky wit. He was a featured storyteller at the 2014 Orange County Children’s Book Festival, sponsored by PBS SoCal. His character voices have been featured in apps, CDs, and toys. His most notable client is California’s Great America Theme Park, where he does the voice over for show intros, in park announcements, and the Halloween Haunt.  His Dorktales audio stories are being used in schools via Tales2Go and his Dorktales Storytime CD is available on CD Baby. For more info go to or


Norm Brecke – The Scribbler

Norm Brecke is a spirited storyteller who revels in telling a good story. His music, zeal, and humor add to any occasion. When Norm tells … people listen, and often join in.
Norm specializes in folktales he spices to make unique. His personal stories reflect his Northwest roots. Norm often brings music to his stories, accompanying himself on guitar, ukulele, banjo, or mouth harp.
With a background and expertise as a primary school teacher, Norm’s rapport with young audiences is immediate and lasting. He has developed and implemented storytelling clubs, after-school programs where he guides 3rd-5th grade students to select, practice, peer coach & refine their story for public performance. His popular and successful story clubs build young tellers’ confidence in their public speaking & memorization skills – while having fun! He also leads workshops for adults in storytelling techniques.
Norm performs in diverse settings, including bookstores & libraries, festivals & community events, private venues, campfire & park events. He is a popular choice for school Family Nights, Literacy/Reading Evenings, and Pajama Nights.
Noteworthy projects include his narrating for the Seattle Symphony, being a featured teller at the 1st Annual PowellsWood Storytelling Festival, Seattle Art Museum, and performing at the American Library Association National Conference.
Wherever Norm goes, his enthusiasm for telling stories lights people up.

Norm Hypnosis

Anne Rutherford – Storyteller & Concerned Citizen

Anne Rutherford is an award-winning full-time storyteller who performs throughout the Pacific Northwest. She is a teaching artist in the schools and has recorded four CDs; her latest cd The Habit of Joy is a Storytelling World Award 2015 Winner. Anne is a three-time first place champion of the Northwest Folklife Festival’s Liar’s Contest  – so don’t believe everything she tells you. Find out more at