|Jimmy Jolly, State Champ Blake Hodge and Ed Paul|
The South Carolina State Duck Calling Championship was contested on March 2 in historic Georgetown. The Winyah Bay Heritage Festival hosts the calling contest run my Marc Ackerman of Cottageville. The first of three calling contests got underway at noon, and Jessie Tucker was the best of three callers in the Champion of Champions division (for past state winners). The youth calling contest was up next and by far had the most entrants and spectators as the next generation of waterfowl enthusiasts stepped up to the microphone. Their mission is to complete a 90-second duck calling routine while the sequestered team of judges listens and grades the quality of calling. The 2014 Youth State Champ title went to McKinley Grooms of Pawley's Island, followed by Jonah Brown of Conway and Neil Fico form Pawley's Island. The final contest to decide the 2014 State Champion drew a field of calling experts including the 2013 winner Ed Paul. The winner of the State title is also awarded an entry into the World Duck Calling Championships in Stuttgart, Arkansas. Nine competitors took turns during three rounds of calling, and were told to produce a routine that at first calls ducks in, then to act like the ducks veered off and then to hail call them back around. At this level, any wrong note that the judges hear can be costly. With a command performance (see video) that included one sole weak note during the third round, the S.C. State Title went to Blake Hodge from Lancaster. Hodge uses a Rich N' Tone MVP duck call and has taken calling lessons from RNT creator Butch Richenback. Blake Hodge follows in his father's footsteps, since Daryl Hodge won second place in the S.C. State Contest years ago. In 2014, second place went to Ed Paul and third place went to Jimmy Jolly. Congrats to all.
|Blake Hodge congratulated by dad Daryl and Jeff Dennis,|
two of Drake Waterfowl's Field Experts in S.C.
|Youth Champ McKinley Grooms, organizer Marc Ackerman, |
Jonah Brown and Neil Fico