Chili Crossroads Bible Church holds turkey calling contest

| February 20, 2017

FRESNO – Pastor Neal Dearyan welcomed the crowd to the First Chili Crossroads Bible Church Turkey Calling Contest by saying his wife knew with all turkey calling going on, he would come running. The crowd laughed as he said he wasn’t sure what she meant by that. The relaxed, fun-loving atmosphere continued as the crowd enjoyed the “famous” Chili Church pizza, sampled cookies and waited for the contest to begin.

Pastor Neal said they are already planning next year’s contest. They picked Feb. 18 to follow the National Wild Turkey Federation’s big contest that was held last week, but that contest date changed. The church was hoping for a few more competitors, but also felt there were many conflicts for people on this date.

Eight competitors braved stage fright and nerves to show off their talents calling turkeys by using mouth calls (diaphragms), box calls, slate calls and push button calls. Five adults, one junior (aged 11-14 years) and two Little Jakes (10 and under) did their best to impress the five judges who were hidden behind a camouflage screen.

Elyse Holzer, 9-years-old and started using turkey calls when she was 3. Her dad, Ernie, got her started and her favorite type of call to use is the push button call.  Her “purr” on that call helped her to win the contest in her age group. She is going hunting for the first time this spring. Holzer is very excited and hopes to have a turkey before her birthday in May. Her parents, Ernie and Kate, and younger brother, Noah, all enjoy the outdoors.

The junior division was won by Jacob Skaggs. He is 14 and in the eighth grade at Zanesville Middle School. Skaggs loves everything outdoors, including hunting, fishing and camping. He also enjoys playing football. He has shot one Jake (a young bird) and hopes to have a Tom this year. His favorite call to use is the diaphragm to make yelps, clucks and purrs. Skaggs is also trying to learn how to use his own voice, instead of a diaphragm, to bring turkeys to him this spring. His father, Tony Skaggs, started his love of the outdoors. He shot his first turkey at age 11.

Kadin Dunlap won the adult competition. He is 16 and started using turkey calls when he was 7. He has harvested five turkeys and does his own calling. His favorite call to use is the diaphragm to make “yelps.” His dad is a turkey hunter and got him interested in it.

The competitors were brought on stage one at a time and then told what call to make. Each could use whatever type of call they wanted and they were judged on their ability to make different sounds with those calls. Adults were asked to make fly down cackles, clucks, old hen assembly yelps and other sounds that might be needed to call a turkey to you. They were also asked to show off their favorite call to make.

The Little Jakes winners were first place – Elyse Holzer and second Nick Franks.  The junior division was won by Jacob Skaggs. The results of the adult competition were first place Kadin Dunlap, second place Ernest Holzer, third place David Hahn and fourth place Caleb Miller. All winners were asked to attend the Wild Game Dinner at the church and show off their talents for the crowd. Trophies and prizes were donated by the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Category: Faith

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