As I write this, vendors such as Fox Pro, Savage Arms, Mojo Outdoors and many more are taking down their booths inside the hall which hosted the 2010 World Predator and Hunting Expo in Columbus, Ohio. The show might be over, but there is one attendee that is still flying high.
Steve Criner of Hunter Specialties was crowned the All Around World Predator Calling Competition champion. Criner gave it is all on stage this afternoon, but he was gunning for the championship for someone other than himself today. Criner''s grandfather and hunting mentor passed away back home last night. His emotional ride to the top started Friday evening when he placed 3rd in the Distress Division. While choking back tears, he thanked his grandfather in front of a packed crowd. Then on Saturday during the vocalization division he stepped up his calling to capture 2nd place. I talked with Criner after his second day placing and he was concerned with his grandfather''s condition.
And on stage today it was apparent he wasn''t to be outdone as he conducted a perfect series of distress and vocalization sounds. With passion and determination on his side Criner took home a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place during the three-day competition. Congratulations Steve, you''ve earned it!
1st Place All Around World Predator Calling Competition Champion.
2nd Place Vocalization Division.
3rd Place Distress Division.
This afternoon was the coyote vocalization division of the World Predator Calling Competition. At times I closed my eyes to listen to the callers and I could have sworn I was in the woods listening to a coyote howling back. These guys were unbelievable and I''m just glad I didn''t have to judge them.
Jason Groseclose placed first in the vocalization division.
Last year''s overall World Champion John Paul Moody placed second.
And Steve Criner came in third in the vocalization division.
Tomorrow will be the overall championship round where the top five callers will have to complete a series of vocalization and distress sounds. Check back tomorrow for the results.
(From right to left: Jason Groseclose, Steve Criner, and John Paul Moody.)
The first day of the World Predator and Hunting Expo has been a good one. There were a lot of predator hunters that came out to see all the gear, guns, calls, and of course to watch the world''s best predator callers go head to head for a chance at winning it all.
Friday evening was the Distress Division of the World Predator Calling Competition. These guys are good too; they can wail on a distress call that makes a real screaming rabbit sound pleasant. The biggest surprise was the age of the winner of the Distress Division.
1st place went to 18-year-old Duffey Statler who beat out men well over double his age.
Tim Deckard took 2nd place in the Distress Division.
3rd place went to Steve Criner. A choked-up Criner gave a special thanks to his grandfather who isn''t expected to live much longer. His grandfather taught him how to hunt and instilled a lifetime passion in him.
(From right to left: Duffey Statler, Tim Deckard, Steve Criner.)