PORT ORCHARD — On Saturday, May 26, the crowds came to watch. The contestants came with their best squawks and an ample supply of treats. And the seagulls came. Boy, did they ever.
As every gull this side of Bremerton knows, the latter part of May means it’s time for the Port Orchard Seagull Calling Contest at the waterfront. And if luck is on their side, some of the noisy birds manage to grab a taste from the wings cook-off taking place at the same time.
But back to the contestants. They lined up to give it their best effort at calling in the seagulls. They were introduced by Matt Murphy, executive director of the sponsoring Port Orchard Chamber of Commerce. In a somber preface before the beginning of the contest, Murphy recalled that he was filling in this year for longtime event announcer Bryan Petro, who passed away unexpectedly just before Christmas.
Petro was known for his quips and wisecracks at the microphone, but Murphy kept pace this year in the humor department. He reminded contestants that the event was pretty much a competitive free-for-all. The sole rule for those competing? There were no rules.
With formalities out of the way, who was the favorite entering the contest? It was anyone’s guess, considering that Murphy cautioned that the distinguished judges were open to bribes of just about any kind. And if you were a cute kid, Murphy said, you just might have a leg up on your opponents.
This year, it seemed contestants took his words to heart, especially the last bit of advice. There were plenty of cute kids in line, indeed. In fact, almost all the competitors were under the age of 12.
While no one knocked over the judges with their vocal bellicosity, the youngsters made the most of their “awe” factor. And some of them impressed enough to earn contestant awards:
Seagull Calling Contest
Best Costume: Sophia Gail
Most Authentic Call: Camille Klancher
Most Seagulls Landing: William, Kyle and Ellie Purves
Judges Award: Brayden and Brock Zappey
Best Team or Animal: Parks Family
Best Bribe: Fathoms O’ Fun Royalty
In the “seagull” wings kitchen (to the easily persuaded, these wings were actually of the chicken variety), here are the winners, as voted by a wings-tasting committee:
Seagull Wings Cook-Off
First: The Dock Bar & Eatery – Olde English Salt & Vinegar Wings
Second: The Sidelines Sports Bar – Thai Style
Third: Amy’s On The Bay – Maple Bacon
First: Clancy Donlin – Rag’in Cajun
Second: South Kitsap High NJROTC – Blue Angel BBQ Wings
Third: Farmers Insurance Group-Victor Thompson – Flight Bites