Hundreds of stories could be written about the person who heard his first turkey respond to a call and immediately became hooked—it’s just that addictive—and Dick Kirby was no exception. The Kirbys (Dick and Beverly) were a barber and a beautician, respectively. The company name comes from Dick and Beverly’s hair shop, known while in existence as Quaker Boy Barber Shop and Quaker Girl Beauty Shop.
After one trip to the turkey hunting woods, Dick was hooked, and before long he was spending long hours at his kitchen table designing his own call. “Dick actually started by cutting aluminum siding on his kitchen table and got some latex from his dentist to make his first diaphragm call. After that, he started on a multiple-reed design,” stated Ernie Calandrelli, director of public relations for Quaker Boy. Eventually, Dick and Beverly outgrew the many additions made to their home to accommodate the growing business. The game call industry was in its infancy when the Kirbys started. They were overwhelmed by the big game-call manufacturers of the time. Dick realized that, in his own words, “The opportunity was there, and we went for it!”
There are too many firsts originated at Quaker Boy to mention them all here, but here are a few of the highlights: the first-ever raspy-style call (1975); the first-ever double-reed raspy-style call (1979); the first-ever pot-style slate (1982); the first-ever notch-style call (1985); the first-ever aluminum surface pot call (1986); the first-ever full-wire-frame headnet, follow by the ¾-length headnet (1987); the first-ever double-sided pot call (1991); the first-ever adjustable box call (1999); the first-ever freeze-proof grunt call (2002) and the first-ever squeeze-style bleat call (2006).
Fans from the past as well as those new to Quaker Boy will be pleased to hear that the company’s two new pot-style calls mimic Quaker Boy’s original Walnut Master Series. “In my opinion, the Master Series was the best-sounding call we ever made. In fact, I still have one in my vest,” Ernie relates. Models will include both a glass-over-glass and a slate-over-glass version. (As of the date of this interview, a name hadn’t yet been chosen.)
Also new for 2011 will be Quaker Boy’s new line of Turkey Thug calls. Each Turkey Thug will have his own personal favorite mouth call design as a signature model. Models will include the Sniper, Maestro, Just Bubba and The Swamper. “For those who just can’t decide, we’ll sell them as a four pack as well,” Ernie chuckled.
“Dick Kirby passed away not all that long ago, but Beverly Kirby still continues to own and operate Quaker Boy Inc.,” Ernie said. “Since the very beginning, Quaker Boy calls have been and are still made in the USA.” (716) 662-3979; www.quakerboy.com