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Pratt wins state oyster shucking championship

The Amateur Division of the Urbanna Oyster Festival Oyster Shucking Contest had 15 participants. Above, Eric Speth (second from right), the captain of the “Godspeed,” shows the shucking form that won him the Amateur Championship. (Photos by Tom Hardin)

Deborah Pratt of Jamaica in upper Middlesex County emerged as champion of the 2012 Virginia Oyster Shucking Competition held last Saturday at the 55th annual Urbanna Oyster Festival. 

Pratt defeated the men’s professional winner, Jermaine Brokenborough of Ashland, in the finals. Pratt’s time to shuck two dozen oysters was 2:54, compared to Brokenborough’s time of 5:03.

In the Professional Division, Debra Pratt (right) of Jamaica won another Virginia Oyster Shucking Championship by defeating her nephew, Jermaine Brokenborough (left) of Ashland, in the final “shuck-off.” Brokenborough was the Men’s Division Champion.

Pratt’s time of 3:03 also won the professional women’s division. Pratt’s sister, Clementine Macon of Urbanna, was second with a time of 3:33. Colleen Bartolini of Charleston, S.C., was third in the women’s division with a time of 7:25.

As the top professional shucker, Pratt won $300. She also won $100 for winning the women’s division.

Pratt will compete for the national oyster shucking title in October, 2013 in St. Mary’s County, Maryland. 

In Urbanna on Saturday, Jermaine Brokenborough dominated the men’s professional division with a time of 3:02 and won $100 for capturing the men’s title. James Carter of Center Cross was second with a time of 5:18. Coming in third among the pros was Palmer Hollister of Henrico with a time of 6:16. 

In both the men’s and women’s professional division, the second place finisher was awarded $50, and the third place finisher $25.

The amateur division was won by Eric Speth of Williamsburg. Speth, who is captain of the “Godspeed,” shucked 12 oysters in 3:31. Charles Yang of College Park, Md., was second with a time of 4:11, and Jim Ogburn of Reedville was third with a time of 4:46.

Presentation of the oysters on the half shell is very important. The above times are the corrected times, which are adjusted for imperfections such as cut oysters or shell in the oysters.

The oyster shucking contest was sponsored by Revere Gas and Rappahannock River Oysters.

Also competing was “Jason, the Virginia Game Guy,” whose website states, “I’ll play any game, anywhere, any time.”

posted 11.07.2012

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