Oyster Shucking Contest




The National Oyster Shucking Championship Contest®, held both days of the St. Mary's Oyster Festival, features the fastest men and women shuckers representing ten states and the fastest local tidewater shuckers competing for cash prizes totaling $1,800. Winners from previous years have competed in the International Oyster Festival in Gallway Ireland. See the Previous year's Winners List. Contestants for the shucking contest come from across the country. Usually they have won a shucking competition from whatever region or area of the country in which they live.  For example the West Coast shucking champ comes from Washington state.  Other champs represent the states Virginia, North Carolina, Florida, Maryland, Texas, Louisiana and Connecticut.  Regional tidewater Maryland contestants come form local  restaurants, shucking houses and the Watermen's Association of St. Mary's.

ABOVE: Contestants in the first heat of the Men's Contest held on Sunday Afternoon.


RIGHT: Two women finish shucking almost simultaneously  


BELOW: A contestant treats the spectators to his shucked oysters.


WAY BELOW: The amateur heat on Saturday afternoon.

Shucking champions begin their competition on Saturday with several heats being run for both men and women contestants.  Winners of the first round compete on Sunday, with the women's final beginning at 3:00 p.m., and the men's final at 3:30 p.m.  Then at 4:00 p.m., the women's champion and the men's champion will compete for the U.S. championship crown. Past U.S. National Oyster Shucking Champs are always welcomed back to compete.


All oyster shucking contestants are timed. The speed of shucking 24 oysters is a key component of the contest. Presentation of the shucked oysters, however, is also very important. Seconds are deducted from the shucking time for improperly shucked oysters or those showing less than perfectpresentation. Thus, the winners need to be fast, but also must pay attention to the appearance of the oysters they shuck. After judging is complete each contestant shares his or her oysters with the spectators in the stands.



On Saturday, at 2 PM an amateur oyster-shucking contest takes place at the Oyster Shucking Stand followed by the preliminary Men's and Women's Shucking heats from 3:30 until 5:00.  On the Oyster Shucking Stand Sound Stage, live musicians perform from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. On Sunday, the National Oyster Shucking Championships are held.  The women's final starts at 3:00, the men's final at 3:30, and the overall final at 4:00. Live musicians will perform starting at at 2:30, featuring Big Band and popular music.


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