EDGEFIELD, S.C.—Through 45 years of the National Wild Turkey Federation’s Grand National Calling Championships, many individuals were involved in its success. They played vital roles in promoting the sport of competitive turkey calling, supported callers and contests across the country and mentored the generations of turkey callers who followed. Through induction in the third class of the NWTF Grand National Calling Championships Hall of Fame Saturday, Feb. 19 in Nashville, the NWTF will pay tribute to five individuals who left their lasting mark on the championships and the sport of competition calling.
The 2022 NWTF Grand National Calling Championships Hall of Fame induction ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. (CDT) Feb. 19 at the NWTF Convention and Sport Show inside Nashville’s Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. This free event in the Governor’s Ballroom is open to the public to honor and celebrate these remarkable individuals. The ceremony also will be streamed on the NWTF’s Facebook page.
The 2022 class of the NWTF Grand National Calling Championships Hall of Fame includes:
Chris Parrish, Centralia, Missouri
Parrish’s win list is extensive: three World Senior titles (1994, 2004, 2009), two Grand Nationals Senior titles (2000, 2001), three U.S. Open titles (1999, 2006, 2007), plus nine second-place finishes at Grand Nationals. The list goes on: 10 overall GNCC wins (two Senior, three Team, five Champion of Champions), four Mid-America open titles, Two King of Calls in the World Championships, three World Team championships, one North American Open Championship and 10 Missouri State championships. For 25 years, Chris was extensively involved with designing and manufacturing top-end diaphragms and other game calls for Knight & Hale. He has appeared in countless hunting videos and online instructionals.
Preston Pittman, Pickens, Mississippi
With nine GNCC titles (Gobbling, Team Challenge, Champion of Champions), Pittman has accrued unbelievable success in the world of turkey calling. Other titles include: 1983 World champion, World Natural Voice Turkey Calling Contest, World Two-Man Team Turkey Calling Contest, World Gobbling Turkey Calling Contest and World All-Call Turkey Calling Contest. He is the only person to hold five different World titles. Pittman has also won seven National Championships, nine National Champ of Champs and is a U.S. Gobbling Champion. He is in the National Outdoor Hall of Fame, Mississippi Outdoor Hall of Fame and Kansas Governor’s Turkey Hunt Hall of Fame.
Ray Eye, Hillsboro, Missouri
A legendary competition caller, Eye has won multiple contests, including the 1980 GNCC Owl championship. Other competition accomplishments include: more than 100 state, national and regional turkey calling wins and places, including the National Turkey Calling title, Yellville, Arkansas; the Levi Garrett All-American Open championship; the fourth runner-up in the 1982 Grand National Seniors Division; and a top-five finish at the World Turkey Calling Championship. A conservation communications giant, Eye spent nearly 40 years educating hunters on outdoor radio shows, and has presented and spoken at countless national seminars and sports shows. He guided turkey hunters from 1978 through 1986, and gave many seminars at sporting goods stores, high schools and colleges, and the NWTF Convention and Sport Show.
Joe Drake, Fortson, Georgia
Joe started his calling career in 1982 and has accrued more than 100 open championships. His accomplishments include: 1999 GNCC Team Challenge winner; 1987 World champion, eight-time Georgia State Champion, six-time Georgia Open Champion, 2004 U.S. Open Friction Champion, seven-time Southern Open Champion, three-time National Champion, eight-time Georgia State Champion, seven-time Appalachian Open Champion and nine-time Grand American Champion. Joe has placed in the top five at the Grand Nationals nine times. He has appeared on many TV shows and produced his own show. He has also guided hundreds of folks the past 40 years. Joe is actively involved with helping disabled veterans and Gold Star kids get back into turkey hunting and organizes a local contest that promotes the NWTF. For the past 20 years, Joe has also judged or was the master of ceremonies in many Grand National Calling Championships events.
Tom Stuckey, North Augusta, South Carolina
An NWTF member since 1973, Stuckey won the 1981 GNCC Senior title. He began calling in contests in 1970 in Pennsylvania and won his first contest in 1971. He’s a 10-time Ohio State calling champion, and won or placed in 66 contests. He began selling turkey calls in 1977 with Ben Lee calls and went to work for Penn’s Woods Calls 1981. In 1983, he was hired by Hunter Specialties and started HS Strut along with good friend Ray Eye. He joined the NWTF in 2014. In 2016, he joined Outtech, the largest outdoor industry sales and marketing group in the U.S. In 2019, he started Legacy Conservation Partners, a division of Outtech. He’s spent 41 years selling turkey calls. Tom has spoken to countless state and local chapters and has judged many calling contests, including all the majors. He has also emceed the GNCC numerous times.
About the National Wild Turkey Federation
When the National Wild Turkey Federation was founded in 1973, there were about 1.3 million wild turkeys in North America. After decades of work, that number hit a historic high of almost 7 million turkeys. To succeed, the NWTF stood behind science-based conservation and hunters’ rights. Today, the NWTF is focused on the future of hunting and conservation through its Save the Habitat. Save the Hunt. initiative. Since 2012, this 10-year initiative has already eclipsed goals of conserving or enhancing more than 4 million acres of essential wildlife habitat, recruiting or retaining more than 1.5 million hunters and opening access to more than 500,000 acres for hunting and other recreation opportunities. This critical work will continue to impact wildlife habitat and our great outdoors in the final years of the initiative.