Sunday, August 15, 2010

Bay City Waterfowl Festival

Here it is the first part of August  and that means it is time for the Bay City Waterfowl Festival in Bay City MI.  This show seems to be my most favorite. This show brings in a little over 13000 people every year. It is like every other show a bunch of decoys and call makers.But this show is special to me in many different ways.

One of the reasons it is special is the fact that Bill Maholland from Get Em Locked Up goose calls comes into town. My younger brother is  pro staff member for Bill so me and my family have gotten to know Bill real well. To the point he is now apart of the family. So Bill and his wife came into town a couple days ahead of the show so the waterfowl show started early for us.

On the night before the show we all showed up to my parents house to hang out and swap hunting stories,share hunting tricks and talk about the huge flocks of birds that we have seen. It was a great night for us, the neighbors on the other hand  probably didn't like all of the calling but hey we were having fun.  It was nice to sit out by the fire and hang out with family and friends. One of the highlights of the night was when a family friend Scott Rivard and his son Seth stopped by. Bill and Joe took Seth to the side and was teaching him how to blow a goose call. In the matter of minutes Seth was breaking over the short reed goose call with no problems. After that Joe and Bill was teaching him how to cluck and moan and it was all over at that time. I could tell that Seth had caught the bug of goose calling. I always love seeing the face of someone when they catch the bug of this great heritage of the great outdoors. Seth's dad Scott is an avid outdoorsman so Seth has been around the hunting heritage but there was something that night that was special about Seth's calling.  So much so the guys talked him into calling in the kids division goose calling contest on that Sunday. More on that later. Another highlight was when Bill went and got his Nintendo Wii and we all played Remington Bird hunter. So that was a late Friday night and Sat morning was going to come way to fast.

Well Sat. morning came and the first stop for me was my parents house for breakfast of Scrapple and eggs and to talk about the show. Well after breakfast to was off to Bay City to set up the Get Em Locked Up booth and I was working the Delta Waterfowl booth so it was going to be a busy morning. Once we got the booth up and the calls out I ventured over to the Delta booth and helped set up the tent and set out the merchandise. There was a good amount of people strolling through the show and we had a few people come up and buy some memberships even got to talk with other Delta Waterfowl members and compare notes on what some of the chapters are doing.  After working the booth for a while Joe and I walked through the show to see what the 2010 show had to offer.  Well Corey Sorensen had his calls company W.I.D.E.O. calls.  Joe and I stayed at his table for a good will talking with Corey and his dad about the calls and swapping stories. While we were there Corey asked Joe to be is partner in the 2- man duck calling competition.

At about 11 o clock the Delta president asked if I wanted to judge the kids duck calling competition.  I have never judged a calling competition so it was going to be a fun time.  So the the kids got up there and blew their hearts out.  It was fun to hear the difference in calling and the difference in ages.  I always like it when youth are involved in the hunting heritage and I hope every single one of those kids continue in the heritage.  If they do I think we will be in good shape for the future of hunting.  After the kids comp was over the 2- man duck calling competition was up.  There was 4 teams in the comp and the competition was so good that all of the teams had to blow 3 extra rounds to find a winner.  Corey and my brother finished 2nd and missed 1st by three points.

Once the calling competitions were over it was back to the Delta booth.  After a couple more hours it was time to go.  We all ended up back at my parents house again for great food and good friends.  Most of us were pretty tired from the show so it was a quiet night of watching hunting videos and talking about life.

Sunday morning came and it was another day at the show.  Well when I woke up and looked outside I wasn't sure it it was going to be a good day because it looked like rain.  Well I ventured to the show and decided to hold off putting up the Delta booth.  In the mean time Kyle Fleming was there with is call company so I helped him set up his booth.  At about the time we finished his booth the rain started up and boy did it rain for about an hour or so.  While it rained I was able to sit and talk with Kyle and find out that he had been to the World Duck Calling Competition in Stuttgart AR and finished in the top 10 five times.  To finish in the top 10 once in  a field with the best duck callers in the world is a big deal so to do it multiple time is a great feat.  Along with talking about the World Duck comp. Kyle talked about making duck and goose calls and I turned into a sponge soaking up as much info as I can.  Because I  don't think there is a waterfowl hunter out there that hasn't thought about hunting with a call that was made with their own hands.  So waiting out the rain talking with Kyle was a great treat for me.  The rain stopped and it was ready to start the show.  The highlight of Sunday was the calling competitions.  Today was the Michigan State Duck calling competition.  The winner of that competition gets a invite to the World Duck competition that I talked about earlier.  While the rain was coming down I got a call from Mike Adams to see if it was raining because a few of he Up North Journal guys were coming up to the show and little Mike was going to blow in the hunter division goose calling competition.  After the rain stopped the sun came out and it looked like Sunday was going to be a good day.  Well I met up with big Mike, little Mike, Chico Lopez, and Logan a buddy of little Mike's.  At about the time I met up with the UNJ crew it was time for the kids goose calling competition.  Well our buddy Seth was blowing in the beginner division using one of the Get Em Locked Up goose calls. I could tell he soaked up everything that Joe and Bill taught him.  Out of ten competitors Seth finished forth.  That is a great finish for someone that has never blown in a competition and a good showing for Get Em Locked Up goose calls.  We all congratulated Seth on a great competition.  After that comp it was ready for the hunter division that little Mike was blowing in.  Well it turned out to be a big day for little Mike and the UNJ family because he won his division.  Congrats Mikey!!!! 

  After Seth was done with his comp and waiting for Mikey's division I took my son and Bill,Seth, and Scott all went over to the wood duck box tent.  Inside of the tent my son, Seth and Scott all built wood duck boxes to be used for the next breeding season.

  The last calling competition of the day was the Michigan State Duck.  Corey Sorensen was blowing in this competition representing GK calls.  When it was all said and done Corey walked away with the winners trophy and his ticket to the World Duck Calling Championship. Congrats Corey we will all be rooting for you at the Worlds.

Over all this was by far the best show I am been at.  I could be the fact that I had a lot going on but I am all ready looking forward to next year so if you ever get a chance make sure and stop by Michigan Duck Hunters Bay City Waterfowl Festival.  If you ever see the Up North Journal logo make sure and stop and say HI.  As always enjoy the Great Outdoors.  Take care and be safe out there.