World's Championship Duck-Calling Contest and Wings Over the Prairie

World's Championship Duck-Calling Contest and Wings Over the Prairie Festival

November, Thanksgiving week
This contest is an annual sporting event in Stuttgart, Ark., the "Rice and Duck Capital of the World." The first duck-calling contest was held in 1936 and attracted 17 contestants. The winner that year was Thomas E. Walsh of Mississippi who was awarded a hunting coat valued at $6.60. Today, there are hundreds of participants in the various calling events (including the women's, intermediate, and junior world's championships). The main World's Championship contest is limited to between 50 and 80 callers who have qualified in sanctioned state and regional calling events. These elite duck callers vie for a prize package worth $15,000. This celebration of the waterfowl hunting season is held when the rice fields around Stuttgart have been harvested and the ducks have ample opportunity for feeding. The duck hunting here is billed as the finest in the world.
Ducks are called by blowing a "duck call," a device about the size of a cigar. Originally the callers had to demonstrate four calls—the open-water call, the woods call, the mating call, and the scare call. Now contestants are judged on the hail, or long-distance, call; the mating, or lonesome-duck, call; the feed, or chatter, call; and the comeback call. Judges sit behind a screen so they can't see the contestants. And since 1955, a "Champion of Champions" contest for former World Champions has been staged every five years.
The related events that have sprung up around the contest have been formalized as the Wings Over the Prairie Festival. Included are fun shoots, an arts and crafts fair, a sportsmen's dinner and dance, a 10K race, children's duck-call clinics, and a duck-gumbo cookoff. In 1957 the Grand Prairie Beauty Pageant debuted in which a Queen Mallard is crowned.
CONTACTS:
Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce
507 S. Main
P.O. Box 1500
Stuttgart, AR 72160
870-673-1602
www.stuttgartarkansas.com
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