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National TV flocks to town

"Hopeful contestants, volunteer judges, city officials, downtown merchants and a last-minute MC are all prepared for today's quirky Port Orchard event that has earned the city a national recognition that seems to be growing.The A&E Network wants footage of this year's Seagull Calling Contest, scheduled for 10:30 a.m. today, for its program called The Competition, hosted by Terry Bradshaw, former quarterback for the Pittsburgh Steelers. They hired us to do the shooting, said Robb Zerr, festival co-chair. He said A&E might have picked Port Orchard for the show due to the unique quality of the competition. It could be that there's no one anywhere else that they know of who does anything like this, he said. Seagulls are sort of the overlooked aquatic bird of the world.It won't be the first time the Seagull Calling Contest has sparked national attention. Port Orchard's last two champion seagull callers visited Jay Leno on the Tonight Show.There are three levels of competition at the Seagull Calling Contest. Contestants are judged for the overall best seagull call, the most seagulls called and the best costume for adults and children under 5.Last year, about 20 people competed for the honor of being the champion seagull caller.Registration for today's contest begins at 10:30 a.m.; calling will commence at 11. Callers will be summoned in random order out of fairness to mitigate the potential for finicky seagulls. Calling seagulls can be a competitive business, but Commissioner Jan Angel said it's all in good fun. People have a magic mix of goodies out there. A lot of people are very guarded about the mix, she said.Angel was invited to be the Mistress of Ceremonies, but she said she'll be out of town and won't be able to attend. It's probably one of the first years I won't be out in costume, she said. Brian Petro, of the county arts guild, will MC the competition in her stead.Zerr called the Seagull Calling Contest one of those amazing community activities that sets a town apart. Last year, Jan Angel showed up as a chicken. No one knew it was her. She was just totally a chicken, he said. It's a good snapshot of the community. "

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