World's Championship Duck Contest
2016 World Champion Duck Caller Phil Green after winning the title. Wilkerson Jewelers in downtown Stuttgart has been a long time partner of the World's Championship Duck Calling Contest and provides the official ring each year.
How It All Began
The first National Duck Calling Contest was held on Main Street in Stuttgart, Arkansas, on November 24, 1936, in connection with the annual Arkansas Rice Carnival. It was sponsored by American Legion Post No. 48.
The first contest was a far cry from the present day event, but it was the beginning of the now worldwide contest, which attracts thousands of sportsmen annually from all over the United States.
The contest was originated by Thad McCollum of Stuttgart. Dr. H.V. Glenn sold the idea of sponsoring the contest to the American Legion. The American Legion then appointed a Duck Calling Committee of three men: Dr. Glenn, chairman; Mr. McCollum and Arthur Shoemaker, to stage the event. Later, Verne Tindall of Stuttgart, replaced Mr. Shoemaker as a committee member, and the contest was held.
Total list of entries for the first duck calling contest was 17. Financial arrangements were such that not a large prize was offered. The winner was Thomas E. Walsh of Greenville, Miss. He won the contest without the use of a duck call.
Mr. Walsh, who raised ducks as a hobby at his home in Mississippi, produced the sounds in his throat. He walked off with a hunting coat valued at $6.60, purchased by the American Legion from John Oberly Clothing Store.
First prize in 1947 was $1,000 cash. Today's winner receives a prize package worth more than $15,000.
The only other contestant to win first prize without use of a duck call was Herman Callouet of Greenville, Miss., who won the event in 1942. The only woman to ever win the contest was Pat Peacock of Stuttgart, Ark., in 1955 and 1956.
The tradition continues in 2017 with the 82nd annual World's Championship Duck Calling Contest and Wings Over the Prairie Festival during Thanksgiving Week, starting Saturday, November 18 to Sunday, November 25, 2017.
National sponsors of this year's World's Championship Duck Calling Contest & Wings Over The Prairie Festival include: Winchester Ammunition, Mack’s Prairie Wings, and Lennox Industries.
Other corporate sponsors include: Bud Light and Ludwig Distributing Company, Riceland Foods, Walmart, Benelli, Baptist Health, Express Employment Professionals, Scott Manufacturing, War Eagle Boats, Suddenlink Communications, Ducks Unlimited, Under Armour and Mossy Oak Camo.