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Grand Nationals Ahead For Hoone

If you drive a few miles outside of Morgantown on Route 857 and cross the state line you will end up in Smithfield, Pa.  While you are there you may run into a truly special kid.  A kid that has a personality, intellect and ability that is rare for his age.  This kid does something as well as anybody in the world and he will be trying to prove it later this month in Atlanta, GA.

Cory Hoone is a 14 year old eighth grader at Albert Gallatin Middle School.  For the most part he is very normal kid. He goes to school, completes his chores at home and even finds time for a little baseball.  He does all these things well; maintaining a 3.9 grade point average and playing a pretty good second base on the diamond. 

Then there is Cory Hoone the turkey caller.  When he puts a diaphragm call into his mouth he becomes someone different.  He becomes a kid that can compete with anyone in the world at this unique game.

On February 23rd at the National Wild Turkey Federation Grand National Championships Hoone will try for the 8th straight year to reach his ultimate goal and walk off the stage with the first place trophy.

Cory’s first appearance in the NWTF Grand Nationals was in 2001 when he was 7 years old.  He didn’t place that year in the 15 and under youth division.  Since then he has finished 3rd three times and 2nd three times.  Definitely impressive but he still wants to win it, he wants to be the Grand National Champion.

“The past years have been a lot fun and I have been very close. I have always enjoyed the experience but I really want to win it this year” he said.

The Grand Nationals is the only competition Hoone has not won in his stellar calling career.  He has won the Ohio State Championship seven times, the Michigan State Championship twice,  Realtree Grand America Championship twice and Tar Heel Open Championship (North Carolina).

Hoone’s ability to flawlessly imitate the sounds of the wild turkey has even provided opportunities to be exposed to a national audience and some very famous personalities.

At 7 years old the Hoone family was flown to Los Angeles, CA and Cory appeared on the Jay Leno show.   At age 12 the Hoone’s took the cross country trip again so he could appear on the Ellen Degeneras Show.  Both times he displayed his skills as a turkey caller and also showed his personality. 

No stage fright for this kid!

He is also a pro staffer for the relatively new but extremely popular game call company Woodhaven Custom Calls.   The Woodhaven Sting Team which is located in Heflin, AL is comprised of some of the best callers in the world with plenty of championships under their belt.  Being part of such an elite group is a great honor for such a young man and something Cory takes a lot of pride in.

“It is nice to be around some of the best callers in the world, spend time with them at the booth and be part of the team.  It is a lot of fun” says Hoone.

Cory’s obsession and love for turkey calling and hunting definitely comes from his father Bob who has been making his own diaphragm calls by hand for several years.  Bob is no stranger to competition calling either.  He competed regularly in the 1990’s before focusing his attention on teaching his son the ins and outs.

“I really appreciate Cory’s hard work and dedication and it gives us a chance to spend a lot of great time together.”  Bob Hoone said.

His patience and sense of calm is a direct reflection of his mother Melanie.  For wild turkey enthusiasts, the sound the bird makes is music, for others it can be a little annoying.  She is one of a very few women who can actually handle fly down cackles and kee-kee runs bouncing of the walls at home twelve months a year.

“I am very proud of him, not just as a turkey caller but with his school work, his baseball and with how great of a kid he is.  That is why I deal with the noise in the house!”  Melanie Hoone commented.

Don’t think for a second that Cory just calls for show though.  He is also a very avid hunter and has proven to be bad news for quite a few wild turkeys over the past few seasons.  He harvested his first bird at age 10 and has been on numerous successful hunts since. 

“I love being out with my dad and hearing the birds sounding off.  And when you get a chance to harvest a turkey it is unbelievable.  I love it.”

Hoone has been featured on hunting videos produced by Woodhaven Custom Calls and Ohio Wildlife.

For now, Cory’s time is spent fine tuning his art by practicing at home with his father and entering into a competition here and there to stay sharp.  You can’t blame him for looking ahead to the end of February though; it is something he dreams about and something he lives for.

Standing on that stage with the NWTF logo behind him and an audience to call to.  Being in a moment that could lead to being called a national champion.

For most young men that moment would be terrifying. Being in front of people can be a very uncomfortable feeling and pressure is something even adults struggle with.  These things don’t seem to bother Cory Hoone though.

 He can strut in front of hundreds of people and run a mouth call to perfection or appear on national TV without even breaking a sweat. He can bring home a report card full of A’s or turn a double play to end an inning.

 It really makes you wonder what this kid can accomplish in the future. 

Who knows, but the future sure looks bright.

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