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Feeding his desire

11/29/2010

STUTTGART, Ark. -- Trophy in hand, Brad Allen tried to describe his feelings.

After 10 tries, the Judsonia, Ark., man finally made it to the top by winning the World's Championship Duck Calling Contest.

"It's hard to put into words," he said as a throng of people crowded the Stuttgart Chamber of Commerce stage on a crisp Saturday night. "It's a humbling experience. I just feel real fortunate."

Allen, who has competed in 10 World's events, said the difference this time was his feed call, and he credited three-time World's champion and Champion of Champions winner Trey Crawford with helping him get over the top.

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Top 14

"I've worked on it a lot. Trey Crawford has taught me a lot," he said, specifically noting the feed call. "I tried to blow it a bit more like he does."

Crawford, 37, stood on the stage watching his friend go through the process of receiving the trophy, the $8,000 check and prize package, and was proud that he could play a part.

"He's one of my best buds," Crawford said. "He's deserving. He's overcome every obstacle. He's had to adjust to styles. He's pushed himself."

"It's like daylight and dark what he's done. He put the whole package together. That's just like me winning right there."

Allen, who began hunting at age 6, said he started coming to the World's contests in 1988 with his dad and it would be another 10 years before he began competing.

"It was kind of a good father and son outing for us," he said, getting emotional thinking about his first visits to the Wings Over the Prairie Festival.

The 75th anniversary of the calling contest in Stuttgart began on a sunny afternoon with 69 callers, all of whom had qualified through state and regional qualifiers. After each blew a 90-second routine, 44 remained for the second round.

Another 30 were cut for the third round, and the final 14 were left as the sun set. Another seven were called back to settle ties, and two were called back twice to settle a tie between them.

The final 11 stood shoulder to shoulder on stage as scores from the five judges hidden behind a curtain were compiled.

Daniel Duke was first called out as 10th runner-up. Last year's champion Mike Anderson took eighth runner-up.

As third runner-up, Jonathan Mortin won $100 along with a prize package. Stuttgart's Todd Copley was second runner-up, earning $350 and prizes.

That left Ryan Nolan, who won World's two years ago, and Allen, who came together and embraced. When Nolan was named first runner-up, receiving $750 and prizes, Allen turned sideways and lowered his head in disbelief.

He gathered himself and was asked to speak. His first words were for former World's winner and last Champion of Champions Bernie Boyle, who died last January in an automobile accident.

"Everybody lost a really good friend in Bernie Boyle," Allen said. "He was a really great competitor and great friend. I'd like to dedicate this to him."

2010 World's Championship Duck Calling Contest results

Winner: Brad Allen.
First runner-up: Ryan Nolan
Second runner-up: Todd Copley
Third runner-up: Jonathan Mortin
Fourth runner-up: Phil Green II
Fifth runner-up: Michael Steinmeyer
Sixth runer-up: Dusty banner
Seventh runner-up: Robbie Iverson
Eighth runner-up: Mike Anderson
Ninth runner-up: Slayton Gearin
10th runner-up: Daniel Duke