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  • By Ken Perrotte

Presley Brothers Know How to Talk Turkey, Garner Repeat Intermediate and Open Wins

Updated: Nov 9, 2020

The 2019 Virginia NWTF Turkey Calling championships brought a host of callers to the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show in Richmond this year, with participants ranging from Vermont to Florida.

An article about the show, including coverage of the calling competition and the Virginia Deer Classic is in my column today in the Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star daily newspaper.

This video above captures some of the calling in the Senior Open Division, with excerpts from each of the 11 contestants. There's also a very brief intro with the JAKES contest - got to give the kids some kudos! Hope you enjoy it. Note: The room was tough for filming, with one flickering, almost dead fluorescent light directly above the left section of the judge's curtain affecting focusing and a clearly audible background hum from the building's HVAC system - but other than that...

Tyler Presley, age 21 and hailing from Front Royal, Virginia won both the Virginia State Open and Open Divisions, repeating as the Open Division winner. His younger brother Matthew repeated as the Intermediate Division champion. Matthew was uncontested in the Intermediate Division.

The wins give both young men another shot at the big stage, the National Wild Turkey Federation's Grand National Calling Competition in Nashville, Feb. 12-16 at the Gaylord Opryland Complex. Matthew was Intermediate Division first runner-up in last year's Grand National.

North Carolinian Dylan Bearden won the open friction title in the Virginia competition. Bearden placed second in that division at NWTF’s Grand National competition in Nashville earlier this year.

In friction divisions, competitors use calls that simulate turkey sounds by applying one material against another. For example, it can be wood against wood, as in a box call, or wood or carbon against glass or slate as in a “pot and peg” call. Depending on the pressure exerted and the finesse of the caller, the calls can make a wide range of sounds from raspy yelps to delicate clucks and purrs.

Both Presley brothers are members of the Dead End Game Calls company’s elite road crew staff. The company has mouth calls named for them. Tyler used mouth calls exclusively in his open division wins. In this year’s senior open, the four calls each competitor had to make were the kee-kee run (a call associated with the fall and a lost young turkey), basic clucks and purrs, a hen yelp and a basic tree call (the soft calls turkeys make on the roost).

Judges are screened from competitors. They can hear the calls, but not see who is making them. On some of the softer calls, such as clucks and purrs, competitors often position themselves very close to the cloth screen, ensuring judges hear the subtle nuances they’re making with the call.

NWTF Virginia State Chapter Vice President Kevin Walter coordinated the event. Six volunteer judges and official scorers worked behind the curtain. The event trophies were hand-crafted by Sandy Brady. Visit the NWTF web site by clicking here.

Turkey Calling Contest Winners by Category

VA Open

1. Tyler Presley, Front Royal VA

2. Carl Larue, Leesburg VA

3. Bobby D. Woods, Dante VA

Senior Open

1. Tyler Presley, Front Royal VA

2. Tanner Norris, Florida

3. Shane Martinez, Florida

VA Friction

1. Carl LaRue

2. William Brizendine

3. Bobby D. Woods

Friction Open

1. Dylan Bearden

2. Tyler Presley

3. Bobby Woods


1. Matthew Presley

No other entrants


1. Isaac Willow

2. Lucas Baker

3. Charli Bearden


1. Brett Ladeau

2. Josh Pruitt

3. Phillip Bryant


1. Bob Huber

2. Brett Ladeau

3. Shane Martinez

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