The scallop shucking event took place Friday, August 11.
One of the first skills competitions held this year, scallop shucking has been around in Digby since the early 1920’s, when scalloping first became big in the area, according to event host Linda Gregory.
Contestants used their own unique shucking knives – each with their own design and cut – to shuck like they’d never shucked before.
And this year, the competition involved both sexes – Lacy Madden, who’s been scalloping for just over one year.
“We’re seeing more and more women become fishermen,” said Gregory.
“The job is the same – everyone works hard. It’s a great thing to see!”
Despite being nervous about shucking the scallops in front of a crowd, Madden felt ready.
“Scalloping is something I wanted to do my whole life. Being a woman wasn’t going to stop me,” she said.
Let the shucking begin
The goal of the event is for contestants to shuck 100 scallops as quickly and cleanly as they can.
Reigning champ Andrew Schofield was first up and competed against Craig Thibault and Jayden Ossinger.
The second round was made up of Tyler Mullen, Rodney Griffiths and James Melanson.
The third saw Lacy Madden up against Vance Hazelton.
Gregory got the crowd excited as the shuckers, varied in age and experience, got to it.
“The contestants like clappers from the crowd, but not clapper shells – ones that are already empty,” she joked.
Among the crowd clappers were people from Digby and area and people from away.
Jerry Konicek and Jack Shallow, visitors from San Francisco and self-professed scallop lovers, were enjoying their second time in Digby.
“We came last year and fell in love with the place,” said Konicek.
Themselves avid fishermen, both agreed on their love of the festival too.
“We timed our visit great this year to get to see everything that’s going on,” said Shallow.
The final results were as follows:
In first place was Andrew Schofield with a time of 5 minutes, 59 seconds.
Second place went to James Melanson with a time of 6 minutes and 25 seconds.
And in third was Craig Thibault with a close time of 6 minutes and 26 seconds.
After the competition, people were invited to try shucking for themselves and to taste fresh scallops. Konicek gave it a go, as well as Vancouver visitor Julie Tromans, originally from London.
“I really sucked at the first shuck, but I got going on the second one and did better,” she said.
“Watching those guys do it makes it look so easy and quick, but it’s really not!”