Acampo native Ryan Sherbondy is no stranger to duck calling championships. The 18-year-old Consumnes River Junior College student is practically duck calling royalty in California at this point: Five years ago, he won the Junior World’s Championship.
Last year, he won the California State Duck Calling Championship and took second place in the Butte Sink Regional Championship in Colusa, and he’s been to the World’s Championship Duck Calling Contest in Stuttgart Arkansas four times already – with last year being his first competing as an adult.
Under normal circumstances, the fact that Sherbondy repeated as the California State Duck Calling Champion wouldn’t come as a surprise, but this year was a little bit different.
On Saturday, just as the Duck Calling Contest kicked off at Veterans Memorial Park, master of ceremonies Reg Bravo asked those in attendance to take a moment to pray for three callers who were unable to make it to the contest – two of whom were in the hospital, and a third who was out on a strike team fighting fires. One of those callers in the hospital was Sherbondy.
Steve Sherbondy, Ryan’s father and the calling contest organizer, said that his son had gone into the emergency room on Wednesday night and went home on Thursday morning with some medicine, but was back in again on Friday and wasn’t released until Saturday afternoon. He missed the Butte Sink Regional on Saturday, but was able to tough it out on Sunday for the State Championship – and win it, qualifying for the World’s Championship in Stuttgart, Ark. in November.
“I had practiced quite a bit a month or two prior to the contest. I prepared myself pretty well, but I was at a friends party (on Wednesday) and swimming in the pool, and I came up and got a bad headache,” Sherbondy said. “It came back on Friday, just before I was getting ready to leave for the contest… It was a rough week, but I just kind of came out on Sunday and did what I practiced, and it worked out for me. It was still bothering me a little bit. I had taken some medicine for the migraine just before I blew, but about 50 seconds into that routine, my head was killing me – it felt like my eyes were popping out of my head.”
On Saturday, Dillon White, of Atwater, took first place in the Butte Sink Regional Championship, which also qualifies him for the World’s Championship – the first for White.