November 27th 2008 00:11
The attention of sports fans everywhere will be on Stuttgart, Arkansas, this weekend for the the 73rd Annual World Duck Calling Championship.
The 2008 final will be held on Friday and Saturday, 28-29 November, and 70 contestants are preparing for the event, which we will try not to call a quack-off.
The tournament's spokesperson, Stephen Bell, said four great prizes awaited the winner.
First there is the title of World Champion Duck Caller. (No wise quacks please.)
Second, there is a cash prize of $8,000. (This might have been more, but negotiations for live global television coverage did not materialise. ESPN Outdoors will, however, televise the event locally.)
Third, there is a commemorative ring. Yee-har.
And fourth, in the clear, ringing words of Stephen Bell, the winner "becomes a big-time celebrity in town".
The town, let us remind you, is not Stuttgart, Germany, home of Mercedes-Benz and one of the Europe's greatest opera houses, but Stuttgart, Arkansas, home of the World Duck Calling Championship.
The winner becomes “really well known locally," says Mr Bell. "That’s why the competition is so fierce. Everyone wants their son to be a champion duck caller.”
Are daughters not allowed to aspire to duck-calling glory?
Mr Bell says winners often use their newfound fame in the duck hunting world to create a line of duck calls, duck hunting clothing, and even parlay into the world of politics (the mayor of Stuttgart is considered "one of the best duck callers ever").
Stuttgart, Arkansas, has its own community web page here which, in a deft bit of word play, promotes Stuttgart as a "a natural place to call home".
So tie up your pet ducks this weekend folks, lest they hear upon the breezes soft beckonings from Arkansas way.
www.flashnews.com; image: assets.espn.go.com