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Guzman wins fourth state duck calling title

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History was made Sunday afternoon in downtown Georgetown as Steven Guzman won his fourth state duck calling championship. Guzman, from Alcolu, bested nine other competitors, including last year's winner, to take home the 2018 South Carolina State Open Duck Calling Championship. Guzman, who won three straight titles from 2004-2006, was allowed to compete this year following a rule change. Previously, three-time state champions weren't allowed to compete anymore in the South Carolina contest. But Marc Ackerman, one of the event's organizers, told the crowd at Francis Marion Park that the rule was removed this year, opening the door for Guzman to compete again. 2017 state champion Ed Paul, of Summerton, finished second. Guzman will now represent South Carolina in the World's Championship in Stuttgart, Arkansas, the Saturday after Thanksgiving. During the competition, contestants have 90 seconds to do a range of calls used in a duck hunt. Contestants stand on the opposite side of a wall from five judges tasked with listening to and scoring the call. The three middle scores are tallied while the high and low scores are tossed out. Scores from two rounds are added to name a winner; a third round is held if there is a tie.

The event is held annually in Georgetown as part of the Winyah Bay Heritage Festival. This year's event was also sponsored by the Georgetown County Museum. In the State Junior Contest -- for youths 16 and under -- Marion's Brandon Tiesing, 15, won after finishing second in 2017. The top three in each contest received plaques. by David Purtell, dpurtell@southstrandnews.com

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