LHS student places sixth at World Duck Calling Championships

By Dick Mason, The Observer November 30, 2012 01:12 pm

Mitch Workinger of La Grande said he learned a lot at the World Duck Calling Championships in Stuttgart, Ark., Nov. 23.
Mitch Workinger of La Grande said he learned a lot at the World Duck Calling Championships in Stuttgart, Ark., Nov. 23.

Mitch Workinger of La Grande recently proved what experts have suspected for some time — he is one of the best young duck callers in the world.

Workinger placed sixth in the 14-16 age division at the World Duck Calling Championships in Stuttgart, Ark., Nov. 23. 

The La Grande High School junior received 477 points from judges in two rounds of competition. The total was just one shy of what was needed to be among the top five and advance to the final round. Workinger was one of 27 entrants in the division.

Workinger was disappointed that he barely missed the final round but described the experience as positive.

“It was a lot of fun,’’ he said.

Workinger said the atmosphere was electric with a large crowd looking on.  

The talented caller said he learned a lot at the World Championships, especially after the competition when he had an opportunity to talk with the judges who gave him tips.

At the world championships, Workinger used the same calls that catapulted him to the world stage. His repertoire included a hail call, which catches the attention of ducks and geese from 200 to 300 yards; a feeding call, which imitates the sounds waterfowl make while eating; and a comeback call, which draws back ducks when they decide to leave without landing. 

Workinger qualified for the World Championships by winning the Oregon duck-calling title earlier this year. He is ranked fifth in the international Kruger Farms Point Race for duck callers in the age 16 and younger division. 

He has been honing his skills since 2006 when he first started calling. Workinger has been practicing an hour a day virtually every day since then. He is sponsored by Bill Saunders Calls & Gear of Kennewick, Wash.

The LHS junior traveled to the competition with his parents, Brad and Lisa Workinger. The World Duck Calling Championships are traditionally conducted in Stuttgart the day after Thanksgiving, as they were this year. 

Mitch Workinger said this meant he and his parents had to miss Thanksgiving dinner for the first time because they were traveling on Nov. 22. 

Mitch Workinger is a member of the pro staff of Bill Saunders Calls & Gear. Pro staff members represent the company at competitive events.