Grand National Turkey Calling in Nashville

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Expert wild turkey callers from across the country will pull out all the stops as they putt, purr and cackle their way to more than $25,000 in cash and prizes at the National Wild Turkey Federation's Grand National Calling Contest Championships, sponsored by Wild Turkey Bourbon.

The championships will be held during the NWTF's 33rd annual Convention and Sport Show at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Feb. 19 to Feb. 22, 2009. After a pressure-packed minute on stage in which contestants must mimic various sounds of a wild turkey, callers will nervously await the final verdict from a panel of judges.

The championships contain multiple divisions, including Senior, Gobbling, Friction, Owl Hooting and the Rare Breed Champion of Champions.

"A year's worth of practice comes down to a one minute performance," said Mark Prudhomme, 2008 NWTF Grand National Owl Hooting Champion. Prudhomme, who also won last year's coveted Team Challenge Calling Championship with his partner Kerry Terrell, added that calling real wild turkeys is actually easier than calling in front of the judges.

"When I'm turkey hunting in the woods, I can make mistakes and still call in a turkey," Prudhomme noted. "But at the Grand Nationals, judges are looking for perfection. Part of the challenge is not just being a great caller, but also figuring out what the judges are expecting and deliver it."

2007 Senior Division Champion Shane Hendershot agreed, noting that it is difficult to recover from mistakes.

"On the TV show American Idol, you might see contestants give a mediocre performance and still squeak by to the next round," said Hendershot. "The NWTF Grand Nationals don't work that way. If you stumble even a bit, you're out of the running."

The Grand Nationals represent only a small portion of what's in store during the NWTF's action-packed weekend in Nashville. The four-acre exhibit hall will be filled with more than 545 exhibit booths full of the latest and greatest gear that hunters will need in their quest for next spring?s gobblers. World-class callmaking and taxidermy competitions, seminars from hunting experts, a special ceremony honoring our veterans, fun and educational activities for youth and much more will also take place.

"Through this year's theme: "The Year of the Volunteer," we will also show our appreciation to the thousands of dedicated volunteers who have made the NWTF the successful organization it is today," noted Michael Waddell, NWTF spokesman. "We'll have something fun for everyone in Nashville this February. Join us for a brand new show in your favorite place!"

The NWTF is a national nonprofit conservation organization that was founded in 1973 and has worked with wildlife agencies to restore wild turkey populations from 1.3 million wild turkeys to nearly 7 million today. Now, NWTF volunteers raise funds and work daily to improve critical wildlife habitat, increase access to public hunting land and introduce new people to the outdoors and hunting.

"Join myself, Michael and tens of thousands of your closest friends for a weekend of fun, camaraderie, patriotism and celebration of the wild turkey and its conservation success," said Brenda Valentine, NWTF spokeswoman.

The NWTF?s Convention and Sport Show will feature award-winning entertainment from country music artists Blake Shelton, Rhett Atkins, Andy Griggs and Daryle Singletary plus comedy and music from entertainer Paul Harris.

Though the NWTF's Convention and Sport Show will offer a variety of activities and entertainment, competitors in the Grand National Calling Championship are coming to town with one thing on their minds - victory. The callers may have a friendly rapport backstage, love to talk turkey hunting and even offer calling tips to each other, but once the competition begins, all bets are off

"I want my title back," said Hendershot. "I'm not coming to Nashville to lose."

But Billy Yargus, the NWTF's 2008 Senior Division Champion, has no intentions of relinquishing the title that took him 10 years to earn. He'll be reaching deep into his bag of tricks in 2009 as he tries to secure back-to-back championships.

"I'm in it to win it," he said. "It's a rush to hoist that championship trophy and feel the respect that comes with it. If you have a NWTF Grand National title under your belt, no one questions that you're the best. It's a big deal."

General admission tickets to the NWTF?s Convention and Sport Show are just $10 per day or $25 for a three-day admission badge. Ticket information for other Convention and Sport Show events is available at http://turkey-shoppe.nwtf.org/convention2009.html .

To register, reserve a hotel room, or get more information about the NWTF?s 33rd annual Convention and Sport Show, visit www.nwtf.org/special_events/convention.html>http://www.nwtf.org/special_events/convention.html http://www.nwtf.org/special_events/convention.html> .

2009 NWTF Convention Sponsors:

Arkansas Game & Fish Commission
ATK/Federal Premium Ammunition
Bank of America
BASF
Bass Pro Shops
Browning
Call Makers and Collectors Association of America
Chevrolet
Crescent Cardboard Co., LLC
Foxy Huntress
Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center
Harrington & Richardson Company
Knight Rifles
Leupold & Stevens, Inc.
Longleaf Camo
Marlin Firearms Company
Mathews Archery
Motorola
Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau
National Band and Tag
O.F. Mossberg & Sons, Inc.
Outdoor Channel
The Outdoor Connection
Realtree Outdoor Products, Inc.
Remington Arms Company, Inc.
South Carolina State Chapter
Tennessee State Chapter
USDA Forest Service
U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance
Weatherby, Inc.
Wild Turkey Bourbon
Winchester Division/Olin Corp.

For more information about the NWTF or to become a member, visit www.nwtf.org www.nwtf.org> or call (800) THE-NWTF.


Tennessee's 2014 Dove Season Opens Labor Day; Early Canada Goose Season Also Starts

Dove season opens on Labor Day, at noon (local time), which marks the annual start of one of Tennessee’s most long-standing outdoor sports traditions. Tennessee’s 2014 season is again be divided into three segments: Sept. 1 through Sept. 28; Oct. 11 through Nov. 2; and Nov. 29 through Jan. 6, 2015. Hunting times, other than opening day, are one-half hour before sunrise until ... (click for more)

Executive Director Of Nashville's Urban Green Lab Is Nature At Noontime Presenter

Jennifer Tlumak, executive director of the Urban Green Lab in Nashville, will be the guest presenter for the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Nature at Noontime. The program will be held on Thursday, Sept. 4, from noon-1 p.m. at the TWRA Region II Ray Bell Building A Nashville native, Ms. Tlumak’s experience includes work as an energy efficient analyst at the U.S. Department ... (click for more)

Bradley, 24, Charged In Death Of Boy, 3; Child Had Numerous Injuries After Left With Boyfriend; Mother Was In Workhouse

Justin Dale Bradley has been charged with criminal homicide in the death of a three-year-old child, who was rushed to the hospital on Wednesday and later died. Police said Dakota James Arndt had numerous injuries over his body. Authorities said Bradley, 24, is the boyfriend of the child's mother, Brianna Kwekel, who was in the Workhouse at the time. Ms. Kwekel was serving 48 ... (click for more)

Helen Burns Sharp Asks Recovery Of Legal Fees In Successful Black Creek TIF Lawsuit

Helen Burns Sharp, citizen activist who sued to try to stop a $9 million Black Creek Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and won, is seeking to have her legal expenses paid by the city and the developers. Ms. Sharp said in a court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka are $74,427 thus far. Chancellor Frank Brown ruled in favor of Ms. Sharp, saying the Sunshine ... (click for more)

The Many Lessons I Learned From Helen McDonald Exum

Helen McDonald Exum was my friend and mentor. As I think of her passing I can only imagine the celebration that is happening in heaven as the news of her arrival is being told. I am sure that there is a party that not only has she organized but that there is not a detail that has been left to chance. I am sure that it is the grandest of events, for you see, she has been planing ... (click for more)

Insurance Burden Should Not Fall On The Teachers

I have attended several Hamilton County School Board meetings over the past few months, including the recent special called meeting" to vote on teacher insurance changes. First, let me say I am very impressed with Superintendent Rick Smith and his staff at the Central Office.  Mr. Smith is a very dedicated public servant, working hard to provide services to our community ... (click for more)