Corder, Tipton and Cline gobble up division wins in Farm Expo calling contest

George Thwaites • Jan 20, 2007 at 10:39 AM

Most of the people comprising the overflow crowd that attended the Times-News Farm Expo on Saturday were at MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center to talk about the latest in farm equipment.

A few, however, were there to talk turkey.

A panel of expert judges declared Michael Corder of Dungannon the most fluent speaker of "turklish" in the adult division of the Wright Equipment Turkey Calling Contest, which was co-sponsored by the Bays Mountain Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Corder, 33, is a Longbeards Chapter member, but the judges - who were separated from the anonymous competitors by a curtain - didn't know it until the final awards were presented.

Corder, who edged out John Paul Shortridge of Nora, used a combination of slate and wingbone calls to take first place and $100.

"I might just use it to invest in more turkey calls," said Corder, a massage therapist who is a lifelong turkey hunter, deer hunter and angler.

Shortridge won $75 for second place.

One of the youngest competitors in Saturday's calling contest didn't utilize any type of calling device whatsoever.

Seven-year-old Sidney Lane of Nickelsville, who placed third in the ages 5-11 division, relied entirely on his own vocal chords.

"I just do it with my mouth," said Lane, who demonstrated by giving an encore performance of amazingly subtle hen yelps.

His father, Mickey Lane, said the youngster had been trying to learn how to use a diaphragm call, but the commercial device was too big for his mouth.

"One day he just started doing it. I thought he'd finally figured it out. Come to find out, he hadn't," said Mickey Lane, who hopes to find out how effective Sidney's calling technique is on a live wild gobbler this spring.

"I'm going to take him and let him call and see what happens."

Nine-year-old Dillon Tipton of Church Hill, who won the ages 5-11 division, already has had some success as a turkey hunter. He bagged his first gobbler this past spring.

Tipton, who is also familiar with deer hunting, said he enjoys the peculiar challenges of wild turkey hunting.

"Deer are colorblind and they can't see color and stuff. Turkeys see color and stuff. You've got to be a little quieter," Tipton noted.

Ryan Henslee of Hancock County finished second in that age division.

The winner of this year's ages 12-17 division was 15-year-old Ethan Cline of Watauga. He moved up the competitive ladder, having given a second-place performance in last year's Farm Expo.

Casey Legg of Kingsport finished second in that division while Matt Fletcher of Kingsport was third.

Record number of cranes expected at Hiwassee

Wildlife managers at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency's Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge have recorded a new high for midwinter population survey counts of migrating cranes.

Biologists estimate more than 15,000 migrating sandhill cranes are using the refuge and many are no longer flying south and are spending the winter in Tennessee. Also in the count, managers identified three whooping cranes.

"This is mostly due to milder winter weather over the past decade and hundreds of acres of corn we plant each year," said Wally Akins, a TWRA refuge manager. "The area offers the elusive birds a safe place to roost at night in and around the mud flats found on the refuge and the historic Hiwassee Island."

With the 15th annual Cherokee Indian Heritage and Sandhill Crane Viewing Days set for Feb. 3-4, visitors should not only enjoy large numbers of the large birds but may also see one of the most endangered cranes in the world.

Kenner recognized for four decades of service

Jerry Kenner was recently recognized for four decades of service to Cherokee Rod & Gun Club when the organization presented him with the Gordon Dykes Award.

Kenner, a Kingsport resident, was presented the award because he exemplified "the meritorious ideals of club involvement, participation and the true spirit of sportsmanship."

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