U.S. Oyster Shucking Champ Takes World Championship in Ireland - Southern Maryland Headline News

U.S. Oyster Shucking Champ Takes World Championship in Ireland


William "Chopper" Young, second from left, squares off against other contestants at the 2004 St. Mary's County Oyster Festival. Young returns to Leonardtown October 18th and 19th to compete in this year's event.
William "Chopper" Young, second from left, squares off against other contestants at the 2004 St. Mary's County Oyster Festival. Young just won the international competition in Ireland. He returns to Leonardtown October 18th and 19th to compete in this year's event. (SoMd.com File Photo)

LEONARDTOWN, Md. (Oct. 3, 2008) The United States Champion Oyster Shucker, William "Chopper" Young, of Wellfleet, Massachusetts, competed for and won the International Oyster Opening Championship (shucking is an American term) during the 54th annual Galway Oyster Festival in Galway, Ireland. The festival was held Thursday, Sept. 25 through Sunday, Sept. 28. By capturing the U.S. Oyster Shucking Crown last October during the St. Mary's County, Maryland Oyster Festival, Young secured a position to compete for the International title.

In the International competition, Young was required to open 30 oysters, competing against champions from sixteen countries, including, Ireland, Australia, France, Germany, and Norway. Speed was only one factor in judging since penalty points (seconds) are assessed for poor appearance of the shucked oysters, e.g. cuts in the oyster flesh or bits of shell remaining.

At the finish of the contest, Young was tied with Irish competitor, Michael Moran at 2 minutes and 47 seconds. Young was declared World Champion due to the appearance of his work he had not been assessed any penalty points for poor appearance. Moran was assessed penalty points.

"This has been my goal for so long," exclaimed Young. "It's amazing to reach it and win on my first try. I had a lot of help and support getting here and people looking out for me all around the world. What a ride!"

This is the 32nd consecutive trip for winners of the U. S. championships held in Leonardtown
long recognized as the "Super Bowl" of U.S. oyster shucking competition to the International Oyster Shucking Championships. In 1976, Cornelius Mackall bested a field of twelve competitors to become the only previous U.S Champ to win the International Competition. However many U.S. Champs have finished in the top three, with only seconds in opening time separating the contestants.

To win the U.S. title, Young competed against men and women champions from across the country. Young beat the female division champ, Cathy Millikan, from North Carolina by just 25 seconds.

Following his appearance in Galway, Young will return to Leonardtown to defend his U.S. title at the 42nd Annual St. Mary's County Oyster Festival on October 18th and 19th.

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