The world's championship goose calling contest is only five years old. It began in 1951 in the high school gymnasium; four contestants and 75 spectators attended. But Missouri Valley lies within the boundaries of the central fly way; the country for hundreds of miles around is full of goose hunters, and the town quickly became Mecca to thousands and thousands of people who admire "real goose calling." The goose call makes a sound something like a bicycle horn with a squeeze bulb; this sound, however, must be varied between a low-pitched "h-a-a-a-r-r" and a high, raucous "w-a-a-a-arp." The goose caller starts with the "highball" to arrest the attention of his prey, then emits a "walking call" as the leader moves in, and switches to a reassuring murmur and finally, a "ha-wump."
This year's big crowd was as obediently silent during the calling as spectators at a chess tournament; those unable to contain their excitement spoke in bated whispers: "That one was terrific—not too high-pitched. Some like them high, but not me," and, ecstatically, "Did you hear that hawump?" Not until the last of the 10 finalists finished his murmur did the crowd applaud. The 1956 champion was Angus B. McCain, a 204-pound, 6-foot 4-inch oil refinery worker from Lake Charles, La. McCain, who won $1,000 as well as the title, explained afterward that he gets his artistic effects by tucking his chin back into his neck and holding his duck call against his chest, thus utilizing his rib cage as a sounding board.
No geese, of course, showed up during the contest, although a flock of rather bewildered pelicans flew over the grandstand at one point; Missouri Valley would be shocked and ashamed if a goose was ever stupid enough to fly near a crowd of thousands of people, even to hear the world's goose calling champion.
In the waiting room of the National Airport in Washington, D.C. two men of mature years and dignified deportment stood chatting. Suddenly one of them assumed the position of a quarterback, took the imaginary ball as it was snapped, dropped back as if to pass and held the ball aloft until a teammate took it from him and headed around end. His performance froze all other movements in the crowded lobby for a few moments. Then a flight for Dallas was announced, and the two men went out to their plane, sedate and dignified once more, leaving a small, spellbound crowd to wonder who they were.
Well, they were Willis Tate, president of SMU, and William C. Martin, Methodist bishop of the Dallas- Fort Worth area. Dr. Tate was demonstrating for the bishop the old Statue of Liberty play that SMU had used a few days before in defeating Notre Dame.
50 YEARS LATER
Old 16, a gray ghost from America's tumultuous motoring past, stood silent on a Long Island byway one day last week. Sure hands adjusted the throttle, retarded the spark and pumped up the fuel pressure. A twist of the crank, and the enormous motor of Old 16 came to life—with the sound of a herd of elephants coughing in sequence. Then the last survivor of the renowned Vanderbilt Cup road races set out over the historic trail on which it once brought supreme racing glory to the United States.
Fifty years before, to the day, this four-cylinder Locomobile achieved the fastest lap and ran third in the 1906 Vanderbilt Cup race. Two years later it ended foreign domination of the Cup races with a breakneck victory through throngs as insensitive to danger as those which court death in the running of the bulls at Pamplona or the racing cars in Italy's Mille Miglia.
Old No. 16 came out of retirement at the invitation of the Long Island Old Car Club, which also provided 20 antique Packards, Cadillacs, Stanley Steamers, Stevens-Duryeas and the like for the anniversary run.