By LEONARD CUTBIRTH
After around eleven years of turkey hunting I decided I wanted to see just how my turkey calling would match up with other callers. It’d been very good to me in woods for all those years, maybe I’d do well against others in competition. That’s where the road began and I was in my early twenties so I was full of confidence and competitive spirit.
I started out by joining the N.W.T.F which helped me find contests all over my home state of Missouri. From there I started travelling every weekend to a new town to compete and grow a little better each week as I gained experience. The biggest kicker and downfall for me in competition calling was, is and always will be my nerves. Some callers I’ve talked with have never had any issues with their nerves getting to them. Unfortunately I’ve felt that sickening, nervous effect at every contest I’ve competed in from the smallest, when I first started, to the Grand Nationals I just called in February of this year. If you can beat the nerves you’ll have an advantage in competition.
After spending a while calling in smaller contests and having success on that level, I decided to work toward calling in the bigger competitions. A great thing to have on your side while competing, and getting some wins in your column, is sponsors. If you get to that level, start out by going to the maker of your calls and asking them if you can represent them in competition. Also sporting goods stores in your area can help you out also.
When I first saw Ozark Ridge Calls they were suggested to me by a hunter at a calling seminar I was putting on at local outdoor store. The store had sponsored me when I travelled by paying my entry fees. In return for them helping me I offered to put on seminars and a great relationship was made. After the seminar I purchased several of the calls and tried them out after returning home. I immediately knew that Billy Greens calls were what I wanted to use in competition. I contacted him and we called together at a contest in central Missouri. I’ve been using Ozark Ridge calls ever since for hunting and competing. I’ve called in 3 World Championship Open and Gobbling divisions, U.S. Open Gobbling Division taking 2nd place and 3 Grand National Gobbling Championships. I’ve called in more competitions that I can count and it’s been a blast. I’ve met great friends and wouldn’t change a thing. Even with all the roller coaster rides, nerves being shot, time consumed and money spent.
The best advice I can give to someone starting out would be to practice a lot, call in as many contests as possible and never give up. If you’re not for sure where you might stand in competition get on YouTube and watch a few contest. Best wishes for many contest wins!