Alabama Black Belt Big Gobbler Contest Winners
Turkey-Callers Claim Prizes in First Alabama Black Belt Adventures Video Contest
MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Turkey-callers in Alabama’s Black Belt strutted their stuff in the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association’s first Big Gobbler Facebook video contest with Cody Godwin and Jerry Lavender earning big prizes.
The Big Gobbler Contest wrapped up on Monday, a week after the end of turkey season in Alabama. Godwin won the People’s Choice award and a $200 cash prize from Southeastern Land Group while Lavender took the Pro’s Pick award and three of Eddie Salter’s “Turkey Man” game calls, valued at $150.
The turkey-calling videos racked up more than 7,200 page views in the contest, which ran during the spring turkey season in Alabama. Godwin is from Enterprise and Lavender is from Greensboro.
“We had a lot of fun with our Big Gobbler Contest this year,” said Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Director Pam Swanner. “Instead of asking hunters to share photos of their turkey harvests from the Black Belt, we called for videos of them working their calls to show their expertise in luring gobblers in range. Turkey hunting is quite a challenge and it was fun and informative to see the calling techniques hunters use to ensure success in the woods.”
Pro’s Pick judges were Dr. Bobby Dale, Mike Giles and Ron Jolly. All are avid turkey hunters, members of Southeastern Outdoor Press Association and are known as experts in the sport. Dale is currently the president of the board of directors for SEOPA and he is the author of three books on turkey hunting as well as one children’s book. He writes an outdoors medical column for Delta Wildlife. Giles is a Bass Pro Shops Pro Staff Member, SEOPA board secretary, award-winning wildlife photographer and columnist for the Meridian (Miss.) Star. Jolly recently retired after 15 years as executive producer at the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, in charge of all video production for the department.
The Pro’s Pick prize, donated by Salter, includes a limited-edition glass call featuring an encased turkey feather from one of the turkey-hunting legend’s own gobbler harvests. That call is certain to be a collector’s item. Lavender also wins a Salter classic box call and his favorite reed call. Salter, known as “Turkey Man” due to his world renown as a turkey-caller and hunter, is a native of the Black Belt from Evergreen, Ala., in Conecuh County. He has won seven Southeastern Open Turkey Calling Championships, six Alabama State Championships and two World Open Championships. He has almost four decades of turkey-hunting experience.
The Black Belt includes the following counties: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox.
The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is committed to promoting and enhancing outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities in the Black Belt in a manner that provides economic and ecological benefits to the region and its citizens.