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Great Gobbler Challenge starts March 20

Southern Trading Company will host the “Great Gobbler Challenge,” a turkey contest to benefit the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation and the Lake Seminole Spurs.

The contest will start March 20, opening day of turkey season, and will run to the end of the season in May.

Participants will bring their birds to the official weigh-in station at Southern Trading Company, where they will be scored along NWTF regulations. The highest score at the end of the season wins $500 cash.

Kids and teenagers are encouraged to participate in the “Jakes” and “Xtreme Jakes” categories. Jakes includes kids 12 years old and younger. Xtreme Jakes are ages 13 to 15.

The winner in the Xtreme Jakes category will win a Mossberg 535 ATS camouflaged 12-gauge shotgun. A Mossberg 500 Bantam 20-gauge shogun will be given to the winner of the Jakes age group.

Contestants must pre-register at Southern Trading Company. No birds will be accepted into the competition if the hunter is not registered. All proceeds from the entry fees will go to the Lake Seminole Spurs, as well.

“We are really excited about our programs this year,” said Sean Hader, president of the Lake Seminole Spurs. “It is more than hunting, it’s about preserving a heritage.”

According to the NWTF Web site, “When the NWTF was established in 1973, there were only 1.3 million wild turkeys. Today that number stands at more than seven million birds throughout North America, and hunting seasons have been established in 49 U.S. states, Canada and Mexico.”

The NWTF is a non-profit organization committed to the conservation of the wild turkeys and conservation of the hunting heritage.

“The NWTF is a great organization and our community is fortunate to have the Lake Seminole Spurs,” said Banks Miller, manager of Southern Trading Company. “We are expecting a good turnout for this event and hope it will help the Spurs with their efforts. Plus, it’s going to be a fun competition.”

Entry fees are $25 for adults, $15 for Xtreme Jakes, and $10 for Jakes. Participants will receive a free T-shirt with registration. For more information about the Great Gobbler Challenge, please visit www.greatgobblerchallenge.com.