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Duck callers flock to Colusa
Open Division: Craig Wilson, Los Angeles.
Junior Division: Ryan Shebondy, Acampo.
Intermediate Division: Roco Lucido, Pittsburg.
Goose Division: Anthony Wallace, Marysville.
Two-Man Division: Bret Crowe (Chico) and Tim Hudson (Los Banos).
Craig Wilson came off the stage shaking his head — disappointed in his first round effort in the open division of the State Duck Calling Competition held in Colusa on Saturday.
It turns out, the Los Angeles man is a better caller than judge of his own talents, as he came away with the title and entry into the World Championships in Stuttgart, Ark., on Nov. 23-24.
He bested seven other competitors for the championship.
Stuart McCullough of Los Banos, a three-time state champion whose name was once attached to the competition, was thrilled to see a full roster of callers — from juniors to the open division.
"We are getting more interest and seeing more kids competing, and seeing kids who are putting their time in," said McCullough, who asked his name be removed from the event so he can compete again in the near future. He said their is some talented callers he wants to test with his own skills.
"I trained a lot of kids 10 years ago, and then it died out and now you are seeing it come back."
Reg Bravo, who emceed the competition as a representative of Ducks Unlimited, thought the setting at the Colusa park will help that growth.
For those not familiar with the competition, Bravo said it is often equated to trapshooting, but he prefers to compare it to public speaking.
"When you get to the Main Street (open competition), all these guys are 'saying' the same thing, so it comes down to how they flex their voices," Bravo added.
He said it usually boils down to who is best on that day.
An estimated 600 visitors came to Memorial Park for the event, which was in Colusa for the second straight year.
"I think it is a tremendously awesome event for our community. I would like to see us do more events like this one in our community," said Mayor Pat Landreth.
"What I see is it will continue to grow and ... we just need to be there to make sure we can help out with whatever we can do as the city staff — such as the road closures and getting information out where we can."
The event is hosted by Kittle's Outdoor & Sports, and organized by Kristy Santucci, chief executive officer of the Yuba-Sutter Chamber of Commerce.
While Santucci's primary mission is organizing the event for Kittle's, which enjoyed a record day of sales at the store, she said it also fits into her organization's mission of reaching out to neighboring areas with regional membership and marketing.
About 30 vendors were showing their goods at the event, and the people were buying.
Rick Verber of Woodruff bought himself a new goose call, and Bradley Simons of Nevada County purchased a new jacket.
"It's a good event. I enjoy it," said Verber, who is in law enforcement in San Joaquin County.
Paul Macario, with G&H Decoys, said there was a lot of interest in the new products, and was thrilled to see the event move across the street to the park this year.
"It's a lot better and a lot bigger than last year," Macario said.