2011 Canadian Oyster Shucking Championships

Every year Prince Edward Island sees oyster shuckers from all over Canada convene to shuck their hearts out for a chance at the championship title. For the last five years, Eamon Clark has been the one to beat. This year was the first time in history that a shuck-off had to be called to determine the winner. Here’s the official report from Tyne Valley, Prince Edward Island from Eamon’s father, Rodney Clark of Rodney’s Oyster House.

A very nice day led into a heated night of competition.

It would go into the wee hours, as it has in the past. We got home close to 01:45.
The rink, by 19:30, saw a full floor and the child members of the audience sat in the bleachers, off the floor, where they could get a good view of the drinking mere feet away.
The competitors, this year, were very much, On The Knife, as they were opening their allotted 18 Oysters in remarkable times. The likes of flat speed times that saw; 2 in the 1:20:, a few in the 1:30:, again a number of the girls and boys in the 1:40: range, and then the bulk opening in between 1:50: and 2:10:.
Phylis Carr of Carr’s Oyster Operations, Stanley Bridge, PEI, took the cleanest plate.
John Bil of The Ship to Shore Group, Darnley, PEI, took the top finishing Islander placement, The Joe Labobe Award.
Phylis and Janet Hardy were the best finishing females with Phylis (Mrs. Clean) walking away with the Rodney’s Oyster Depot, Grand Bouquet of Flowers and the traditional bottle of ROH SeaLegs wine for top finishing Oyster Lady On The Knife.
Ian Peck came East, from British Columbia, via Cape Breton initially, to take the number 3 spot on the Oyster crate podium.
In a time of 1:29:, with :24: in penalties, was former World and multiple Canadian Champion Patrick McMurry of Toronto.
NOW HERE is were it got really interesting…. In a time of 1:29:, with :24: in penalties, was the defending   Canadian champion, Eamon Clark of Toronto.
A DEAD HEAT, unheard of in the history of the skill, maybe ever, anywhere, a dead heat!
Calling for a Shuck-Off caused quite the buzz in the joint. But, what’s another :45 minutes, when there is a title at stake?
In the shuck off, the two knives, of Patrick McMurray and Eamon Clark, performed with an added torque… one knife opened in 1:28:, with :27 add on seconds of penalties, and the other individual’s knife worked the 18 Oysters in an amazing 1:20:, with :54; add on penalty seconds.
Congratulations to the Canadian Champion, who retained his title and has held it over the past 4 of 5 years, and has a 3 streak going into Ireland and the World Oyster Opening Championships, Galway, Ireland, 24.09.11.
Good work Eamon Clark!
Thanking the organizing group in Tyne Valley, PEI, the epicentre of The Malpeque Oyster, the many skilled Oyster Shuckers from across Canada (who, may we note, paid their own way) into a very challenging and rewarding event for the appreciative audience in the venue, and their own markets for their Oyster enthusiasts that truly drive our trade and power up our knives.
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