Top Turkey Callers Flock to Nashville

Tuesday, February 06, 2007 | 06:00pm

Whether cutting, yelping, gobbling or hooting, Wild Turkey Bourbon/National Wild Turkey Federation Grand National Calling contestants feel the pressure during the “Super Bowl” of turkey calling.

The championships will draw the best turkey callers from across North America to compete at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center in Nashville, Tenn., February 22 through Feb. 25, during the NWTF’s 31st annual National Convention and Sport Show.
“It’s (Grand National Calling Contest) the most prestigious contest out there,” said Matt Van Cise, two-time Grand National Champion and current titleholder. “You have to qualify to compete, and it’s just a privilege to stand up there.”
During the competition, contestants must perform a variety of calls for the judges – such as a hen’s yelp or a young turkey’s kee kee run– without knowing what sounds they’ll have to mimic until they’re on stage. The judges – experts on turkey hunting and calling – score the contestants by accuracy and tone.
Contestants must qualify to compete in the Seniors, Champion of Champions and Friction divisions by winning first place in an NWTF-sanctioned open, state or world division calling contest, being 21-years-old or older and NWTF members.
Only Grand National Senior, World Open or Natural Voice World champions are eligible to compete in the Rare Breed Champion of Champions division.
“The NWTF Grand National Calling Championships are some of the toughest calling contests in the world,” said Rob Keck, NWTF CEO. “The top turkey callers compete here because they’re competing against the best. If they win, they know they’re the best.”
In addition to the championships, participants can also take part in the lighthearted Spit, Drum and Gobbling Show, on Friday, Feb. 23. Contestants dress as turkeys to strut, spit and gobble for the enjoyment of the crowd.
Past calling champions have appeared on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno,” “Late Night with David Letterman” and “Live with Regis and Kelly.”
“The calling contests are a major highlight of the NWTF’s annual Convention and Sport Show,” Keck said. “These championships allow the top callers to be rewarded and recognized for their hard work and talent, but it’s also a lot of fun for everyone involved.”
The Wild Turkey Bourbon/NWTF Grand National Calling Championships will be a centerpiece of the NWTF’s 31th annual National Convention and Sport Show. This year’s convention will house more than 500 exhibitors showing the latest in turkey hunting gear, entertainment by big-name stars and seminars by prestigious speakers in the hunting world. Wild Turkey Bourbon has sponsored the Senior, Rare Breed Champion of Champions, Spit Drum and Gobble, Team Challenge, Owl Hooting and Gobbling championships since 1994.
For more information about the NWTF’s 31st annual Convention and Sport Show, or the Wild Turkey Bourbon/NWTF Grand National Calling Championships call (800) THE-NWTF or go online at

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