The spring turkey season ended in early May and the new fall hunting seasons won’t begin until September, but that doesn’t mean the people of Alabama can’t enjoy some activities associated with hunting – and fishing too!
The inaugural Southeastern Hunting and Fishing Expo will take place 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. June 11 and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. June 12 at the Mobile Convention Center, One South Water Street in Mobile.
Held in conjunction with the iHeart Media Group and the Mobile Sports Authority, the expo will feature exhibits from various sporting companies displaying their products and services. In addition, some hunting celebrities will be on hand to sign autographs and talk about hunting. The list includes “the Turkey Man,” Eddie Salter of Enterprise, with Eddie Salter Game Calls. Preston Pittman of Preston Pittman Game Calls in West Point, Mississippi, and others will also attend.
“We’ll have game callers and companies coming in from different states,” says Kenny Weiss, a noted turkey caller from Mobile and one of the event organizers. “We’ll have some fishing product companies, but the focus will be more on hunting. Some hunting and fishing guides will be there so people can arrange for outdoors trips. People should be able to pick up some good deals at the Expo.”
While all that takes place on the first floor of the convention center, turkey callers will be competing for prizes and bragging rights on the second floor of the building. During the World Turkey Calling Championship, callers from around the country will compete in various skill competitions. Like in the Olympics, individual callers could possibly win multiple championships in different calling events.
“We’re actually holding two different turkey calling championships simultaneously,” Weiss says. “One is the World Turkey Calling Championship. The other contest is the World Friction Calling Championship in which callers must use friction-type calls like slate or box calls, but no mouth calls.”
Young callers can join the competition. Those 10 years old or younger compete in the Poult Division. Callers between the ages of 11 and 15 years old compete in the Junior Division. The Intermediate Division includes people 16 to 20 years old. People of any age can compete in the Amateur Division if they haven’t won a previous championship.
“One of the most popular and fun events for people to watch is the Two Man Team Challenge,” Weiss says. “In this challenge, two people get on stage and act out two scenarios. One will be a spring scenario and the other fall. The team must act out for the judges, who will be behind a curtain. They will have to sound like a group of turkeys in those scenarios.”
Tickets cost $10 per person at the door, and children 12 and younger are free. Fans who want to watch the calling contest can get into just the competition area for free. Expo ticket holders can tour the exhibits and watch the calling contest at their leisure.
“We’ll have many of the top turkey callers in attendance,” Weiss says. “They are all very approachable so people can talk to them. Eddie Salter will emcee the calling contests.”
The World Turkey Calling Championship began in Mobile with the first event held on Jan. 4, 1940, but it went elsewhere for decades. Weiss was instrumental in bringing the contest back to Mobile in 2019. Weiss and other event organizers planned to hold the calling championships in conjunction with an expo in 2020, but with the pandemic, that event never happened.
“This will be the first year for the Expo,” Weiss says. “When I brought the World Turkey Calling Championship back to Mobile in 2019, I knew that we needed to have something else than just a turkey calling contest to draw people. I came up with the idea of trying to put on an expo. I didn’t have enough time to do both so I went to iHeart Media and the Mobile Sports Authority for help to put on an expo. I’m asking everyone to come out and support the Expo and the turkey calling contests. We need the attendance so the city will see that this is something people want to see happen.”
For more information, call Weiss at 251-605-6077 or send him an email at email@example.com.