A shucking competition on Saturday, June 16 capped off the three-day Damariscotta Oyster Celebration.
Twelve ranked shuckers from the Northeast states converged in Damariscotta to compete against eight-time Canadian champion shucker Eamon Clark. Clark has previously competed in Norway and China. Clark said he buys from many sources including his own growing operation on Prince Edward Island.
“I wanted to be a part of this,” said Clark. He regularly buys oysters from the Pemaquid Oyster Company for Rodney’s House House in Toronto.
Also competing were Mamadou Diallo and Jimmy “Red” McDonnell from the historic Union Oyster House in Boston. “I just like to shuck,” said Diallo. He and McDonnell said they did not like to eat raw oysters.
Jake Gerry from Portland brought his shucking skills, and performed a rap about shucking.
Locally, Brendan Parsons, owner of the Shuck Shack in Newcastle, showed his shucking skills.
Each contestant was provided with 14 oysters donated by area growers. Twelve of the oysters were to be opened during four rounds to determine the winner.
The upset winner was James Geoghegan of the West Robins Oyster Company of Southhampton, New York with a time of 59.2 seconds. Clark was second in 61.0 seconds. Parsons took third.
Judges were Dave Stigal of New York City, Bill Devensor of Portland and Bill Mook of Mook Sea Farm in Walpole. Channel 6 weatherman Todd Gutner was master of ceremonies. The Jason Spooner Band performed.
The event was staged and coordinated by O’Maine Studios of Portland to promote and document oyster farming operations in the Boothbay-Damariscotta region.