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Louisianan wins duck calling title

by Bryan Hendricks | November 28, 2021 at 2:35 a.m.

WORLD’S CHAMPIONSHIP DUCK CALLING CONTEST

Stuttgart

CHICK & SOPHIE MAJOR MEMORIAL CHAMPIONSHIP

Spencer Malone, Beebe

Julia Ryan, Stuttgart

Wes Clayton, Hazen

Madelyn Maynard, Stuttgart

ARKANSAS STATE CHAMPIONSHIP

Drake Butler, Hope

Brent Calhoun, Des Arc

Devlin Hodges, Bald Knob

Will McBride, Benton

INTERMEDIATE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Kadeyn Simmons, Sherwood

Jonah Carter, Stuttgart

Mason Griffin, Edenton, NC

Aiden Castleberry, Little Rock

LAST CHANCE REGIONAL

Brent Calhoun, Des Arc

Jonah Carter, Stuttgart

Will McBride, Benton

Forrest Carvajal, Greenbrier

JUNIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Hayes Kibe, Batesville

Logan Heibner, Marion, IL

Lane Evans, Alexandria, La.

Davis Paltillo, Fayetteville

WOMEN’S WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Julia Ryan, Stuttgart

Madison Heflin, White Hall

Curstin Jardine, West Point, Iowa

Haley Weaver, Beebe

SENIOR WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP

Todd Copley, Des Moines, Iowa

Steve Elmore, McKinney, Texas

Kent Cullum, Monette

Terry Harris, Hendersonville, TN

STUTTGART -- For the first time since 1953, a Louisianan won the World's Championship Duck Calling Contest.

In his fourth appearance since 2017, Haiden Richard of Erath, La., outpointed 55 other duck callers to win the 86th championship. His best prior finish was 10th in 2018.

Richard said that his victory is a result of perseverance and determination that was sprung from the frustration and futility of his early years in competitive duck calling.

"I started calling in the summer of 2010," Richard said. "I had a rough start. I could not qualify for this contest to save my life. I went for three years and couldn't get it, so I quit."

With family and professional responsibilities, Richard said he couldn't devote the time necessary to be an elite caller. Richard said he was more disciplined and more determined when he returned to the stage in 2015, but the results didn't change.

"When I came back in 2015, I had a better mentality, but I still could not qualify. I did a bunch of contests, and I got beat in every one of them."

In 2017, Richard won the Louisiana state championship, which finally qualified him for the World's Championship. Richard finished 10th in 2018 and 11th in 2019. The 2020 World's Championship was not held because of the coronavirus pandemic. When it was clear that the 2021 World's Championship was on schedule, Richard said that he told everybody in his circle that he would bring the trophy home to Louisiana.

"It's not just for me, but for my wife, my kids and Bill [Daniels]," Richard said. "This contest is dominated by guys in Arkansas, Missouri and Iowa. It's never won by anybody in Louisiana."

Daniels, owner of Riceland Calls in Hayes, La., made the call that Richard used to win the championship.

Richard said the lesson from his championship is to never quit. If you practice and work toward excellence, the rewards will follow, he said.

"Every night, I put my kid to bed at 8 o'clock, and I blow a call from 8:30 to 10 o'clock," Richard said. "You get out what you put in. There's no other substitute for practice. Never. Ever. Ever."

The World's Championship is the marquee event at the annual Wings Over the Prairie Festival. Bill Free, festival chairman, said that the turnout at all of the duck calling contests was excellent.

Another duck calling highlight was the return of Todd Copley, winner of the 2003 World's Championship and winner of the 2010 Champion of Champions contest. He won the Senior World's Championship on Saturday.

"He crushed it," Free said. "It's been 15 years since he's blown [a duck call] on stage and 10 years since he blew a routine."

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