Arbor Day lessons grow on

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 26, 2000

Michael Bass warms up on his turkey calling with his daughter Caitlin Bozeman. Bass is an organizer of the Butler County Turkey Calling Contest which will be held this Saturday at R.L. Austin Elementary School in Georgiana. There will be four different divisions for callers with the winners of each taking home plaques and cash prizes.

Photo by Robert Blankenship

Those who live in the vicinity of R.L. Austin Elementary School in Georgiana may feel that their town is being taken over by wild turkeys this Saturday when the sounds of gobbling will fill the air at the campus at this years Butler County Turkey Calling Contest.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m. contestants from all over will merge in Georgiana to strut their stuff and show how closely they can resemble the sounds of wild turkeys in an event sponsored by the Butler County Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Georgiana First Baptist Church.

This marks the contest's second year, but this time the event has been sanctioned, which means this year the contest could be much more competitive, said event organizer Michael Bass.

"The winner of this year's contest can go on to compete in the Grand National at the NWTF national convention. This will bring many more professional-type turkey callers here because they will want to qualify to go on and compete in the national contest," Bass said.

There are four divisions that will compete Saturday night. They include the open division, hunter division, junior division and the owling division.

"The open division is more for the professional callers. These are people who have won contests before and travel around to these contests on a regular basis. Other people can also compete in this division which means it should be very competitive and fun to watch," he said.

The junior division is set up for those age 17 and under and the hunter division is much like the open division. The owling contest is also a lot of fun to hear as the contestants will imitate owl sounds which is a strategy many turkey hunters use to have their prey gobble and give away their location.

But, not all of those in attendance have to be contestants in the competition. Bass said that the event is set up to be family-type entertainment where people can come just to enjoy themselves.

"There will be several vendors at the contest and we will have door prizes for those who come out. We really hope to have a lot of people from the community come out and enjoy the contest," he said.

Bass said he has received several calls from people wanting to learn more about the Butler County contest and he anticipates having several contestants from neighboring states.

"We will have several people from outside of this area and probably as far away as Mississippi, Florida and Georgia. These are people who like to come to these events and some of them even have made a living off of this," he said.

Bass said that several people have been very helpful in bringing the event to Butler County and in preparing for this week's contest.

"Steve Lee has done a lot to make this thing happen. Also Eddie Salter, a popular outdoorsmen, and Johnny Broadway, a callmaker from Montgomery, have been very influential in getting things going and helping us get off and running," Bass said.

The doors of the contest will open at 5:30 p.m. with the contest beginning at 6:30. There will be plaques and cash prizes for the winners of each division. You can enter before, or on the night of the contest. Entry fees for each division are: open, $20; hunter, $10; junior, $10 and owling, $5.

Despite the fierce competition, Bass said the event is intended to be fun for everyone involved.

"We just want people to come here and have a good time. There will be some entertaining competition, refreshments and some vendors with quality merchandise. It should be a lot of fun," he said.

For more information regarding the contest contact Bass at 376-9235.