Call in the family

STUTTGART, Ark. — What does the first runner-up do as a follow-up?

Win, of course.

Hallie Horton, second last year, was crowned the 2007 champion of the Women's World's Championship Duck Calling Contest on a cold, overcast Saturday.

"I'm very excited" said the 16-year-old from DeWitt, Ark. "Me and my sister and brother have been blowing this for awhile."

But not blowing. The entire Horton family has found duck calling success. Heather Horton has a Junior World's title and was the Women's second runner-up last year while younger brother Jon Mark was fourth in the Juniors this year.

Their father, Mark, said their success can be attributed to their mother, who encouraged them to get into classes of "the Duck man" Butch Richenback of Rich-N-Tone calls.

"Mr. Butch Richenback has helped us so much," said Hallie, who's been competing since she was 12.
Despite her experience, being on stage in front of a flock of spectators still made her nervous.

"My legs started shaking," she said. "It's just really exciting to be up here."

Hallie was surrounded by family, friends and well-wishers as she carried her huge trophy down the steps from the stage. Expect more Hortons to make the same walk, and most likely with hardware.

"My sister didn't call this year because she went to college, but she'll be back next year," Hallie said. "I'm going to try to blow in the men's, get qualified, and blow."

The world is calling

A small noise-making device opened up the world for Pat Peacock.

Peacock, who is the only woman to win the World's Championship Duck Calling Contest, said her success at making a duck call sing more than 50 years ago has meant so much to her life.

"It's kind of been the success of my life," Peacock said. "Through winning, it opened every door in the world for me. I've been able to do almost anything I've wanted to do because of that. I'm forever grateful to judges 50 years ago."

Peacock won all five major competitions held at the World's Championship Duck Calling Contest, starting with the Junior World title in 1950 at age 12. After five consecutive Women's titles, she took the Arkansas State title before two World's Championships.

"It was the experience of my life," she said. "When I was growing up and calling along with everybody, I didn't think too much about it, but when I became an adult, it made all the difference in the world.

"I would never have been appointed to Game and Fish as a commissioner. And I probably never would have gotten to see the world as I have. I've gotten to go anywhere, anytime."

Her fame allowed her to work as a fund-raiser for Ducks Unlimited, and she was a featured guest at numerous sports shows.

Judging some of the competitions this year, Peacock is pleased a woman has reached the World's Championship.

"I just want another female to get up there and do something," she said. "It's opened a few doors for woman, and the fact that women can beat men."