Grand National Turkey Calling Championships



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Grand National Turkey Calling Championships

By NWTF

Jan 22, 2008 – 9:05:37 AM

 

Callers Compete At Grand National Calling Championships


Shane Hendershot, 2007 Wild Turkey Bourbon/NWTF Grand National Calling Champion

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ATLANTA ?
The auditorium is packed, the judges are tough and the tension is
palpable. It’s not the latest installment of American Idol – it’s the
National Wild Turkey Federation Grand National Wild Turkey Calling
Championships, sponsored by Wild Turkey Bourbon.

The championships, which will be held in Atlanta during the
Federation’s 32nd annual Convention and Sport Show Feb. 21 to Feb. 24,
2008, at the Georgia World Congress Center, will showcase dozens of
contestants from all over North America as they strut their stuff to
impress the judges.

Entrants will take their best shot at imitating the sounds of the
wild turkey. Contestants are scored by a panel of judges who are
directly in front of the stage, but cannot see who is doing the
calling. Callers have one minute per call requested to mimic a series
of wild turkey sounds using an assortment of wild turkey calls or their
voices. Points are awarded for the realism of the call, cadence and the
caller’s creativity.

The Senior Division’s top caller will win $5,000, a trophy, a
championship ring and a wild turkey hunt. The NWTF calling contest will
also feature the Rare Breed Champion of Champions, Team Challenge
Championships and Owl Hooting divisions.

“These callers practice all year and travel to compete in qualifying
contests,” said NWTF CEO Rob Keck. “They’re dedicated to what they do
and these championships allow the top callers to be rewarded and
recognized for their dedication and talent.”

Contestants in the Wild Turkey Bourbon Grand National Calling
Contest say the pressure to perform is high, and preparation and focus
are critical.

“It’s like the Super Bowl of turkey hunting, and the clock’s running
out and you’ve only got one play left,” said 1981 Senior Division Grand
National Calling Champion Tom Stuckey of Roanoke, Va. Stuckey added
that performing for the crowd was “One of the most pressure-packed
moments of my life. The wild turkeys in the woods are a lot more
forgiving than the judges!”

Last year’s Senior Division Grand National Champ Shane Hendershot of
Zanesville, Ohio, agreed: “It’s taken me eight solid years of practice
and a lot of competitions to get here. I can’t put into words how it
feels [to win], but it’s awesome.”

Although 2008 marks the NWTF’s 32nd annual Convention and Sport
Show, the Federation has spent 35 years shaping a legacy of wild turkey
conservation and preservation of the hunting tradition. Since 1973, the
Federation’s ranks have grown to more than 550,000 members across the
United States, Canada and Mexico.

Wild Turkey Bourbon has sponsored the Grand National Calling Championships since 1994.

 

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