Best in Show: Alan Whitson after his Reelfoot Win.
I was lucky enough to get a chance to talk to Alan Whitson after his Reelfoot best in show win. This was his third time attending and he had a great showing. Reelfoot is a contest and gathering all call makers plan for and dream of all year long.
BTB: So you've captured best in show last weekend in Reelfoot, how does it feel?
AW: Honestly, it felt surreal and I feel extremely blessed. I wasn't present when the winners were announced. I was on the opposite end of the Blue Bank resort browsing around. Brad Samples comes over and says "congrats champ". I know I had a puzzled look on my face. I said what are you talking about? He said "you're the champ". For those that know Brad, you never know where he's going with something...I assumed it was going to be some corny joke that I would laugh at for ten minutes if I answered the way he was hoping. He's pretty good at those. So, I asked him again why he's calling me champ? He said you won the whole thing. Then he told me I won first place with my acrylic entry and second place in the open. After a few minutes of having a blank stare on my face, I asked again, are you serious? He said "yes I am champ". No matter how many times he said I won, I'm not sure it sunk in until everyone else started congratulating me. But then I remembered when Brad won last year at Reelfoot, I was the first one to tell/congratulate him. He didn't believe me either. It took a few minutes of convincing. The best part about the entire experience is that all of my friends seemed to be more excited for me than I was for myself. I received countless congratulations from so many of my friends. I have said it in the past, the best part about being a call maker is the friendships that I have made. I have crossed paths with some of my closest friends because of duck calls. That is more valuable to me than any award I could ever win.
BTB: Give us a description of the call, materials, finish, cut style etc.
AW: The call was clear acrylic. It was a new tone board design that I had been working on for about two months, prior to Reelfoot. It is the only one I have with that tone board profile. I spent a lot of nights sanding and filling the tone board before I got it close to what I was looking for. I had a lot of friends and fellow call makers run that call at my shop. I sent it out to my ole buddy, John Koepp to see what he thought. He liked it but he made a few suggestions for some minor alterations. Those alterations were made that Friday night after the first annual Reelfoot Golf Classic. I Slapped in a reed, ran it a little and started passing it around the room to some incredible callers and call makers for their seal of approval.
BTB: What do you enjoy about this contest versus others you have attended?
AW: Reelfoot is more of an opportunity to sit down with your buddies and talk duck calls, amongst other things. The knowledge in one room amazes me. If anyone, including myself had a question about anything pertaining to duck calls, someone in that room has the answer and is more than willing to help. Reelfoot lake is a beautiful place. You add friends into that setting and the call making contest is just a bonus.
BTB: We all know about the call making contest but the call maker gathering and weekend long party is what call makers talk about all year long, how much do you look forward to it and why?
AW: I look forward to Reelfoot more than any other contest every year. This was my third year in a row to attend. I said I would never miss Reelfoot after my first year of attending. The setting of Reelfoot Lake, great friends, both old and new. The food is great and the beer is always cold and there is a lot of both. What's not to like?