WEIRDALE, Sask. – A 15-year-old teenager from northern Saskatchewan may have found his calling.
Nathan Meikle (MEEK’-ell) of Weirdale, northeast of Prince Albert, bugled his way to first place at an elk-calling competition in Saskatoon earlier this month.
Now he’s about to give it his best bellow at the nationals in Edmonton on the weekend.
Nathan began practising last year and came in fourth in his first try at the Wild Elk Federation’s contest.
But this time he was good enough to win the trophy, plus $500 and a chance to go to the finals.
He says it feels pretty good and he can’t wait to show his stuff this weekend.
“I just saw (the competition) in the Sport and Leisure show pamphlet and decided I wanted to go into it,” Nathan said of his first appearance at the contest last year.
His father, Gord, says Nathan’s fourth-placing showing in 2012 came after only two months of training.
“It was kind of funny. Last year they drew names as to who goes (first). He’d never been in a competition before and unfortunately they drew him first,” said the proud dad.
“He had no experience, didn’t know what to expect and he came three points out of third place.”
The competition Nathan entered was for amateurs and is open to anyone.
Contestants are allowed 1 1/2 minutes to do a variety of calf, cow and bull calls using a mouth reed.
“You push your tongue up against it and blow and it makes a sound like an elk,” Nathan said.
Judges score the calls from one to a possible high of 20. The top three participants advance to the next round.
His father says the bugle boy has been working hard and the pair use the calls while hunting, which gives Nathan extra practice.
He plans to take part in the competition again next year.