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Dive Bomb Industries SquadFest 2022 Recap

This annual summertime shindig has quickly become one of the most popular waterfowl festivals of the whole year.

Dive Bomb Industries SquadFest 2022 Recap

SquadFest 2022 was a two-day waterfowl festival full of fun activities for the entire family, including several retriever seminars. (Photo courtesy of Dive Bomb Industries)

If you thought cramming enough excitement and entertainment into a 60-day duck season was a wild goose chase, you should have been to SquadFest, 2022 dude! The Dive Bomb brigade brought back their big summer celebration with SquadFest 2022, held July 15-16, 2022, in St. Peters, Missouri, just outside of St. Louis. Last year’s first-ever SquadFest was held at the company’s headquarters in Maryland Heights, MO, but the team immediately realized they needed more space after a massively successful turnout. SquadFest 2022 was even better, as the crew moved to a bigger venue for the free two-day fun, family-oriented outdoor waterfowl festival. 


If You Build It, They Will Come

Dive Bomb Vice President and Marketing Director Ashur Tolliver mentioned there was a little anxiety for round two, between moving to a larger venue and hosting a festival during a national inflation crisis. “We didn’t really know what to expect last year, with it being the first time and it taking place during COVID. We had a great turnout, but it felt a little crowded, so we knew we needed to go bigger. This year, we were nervous whether people were going to make the drive with the high gas prices, but they showed up from all over the country. We estimated 3,000 people attended on Saturday alone, with about 1,800 who came on Friday. I shook hands with people from all over the Midwest and we had people fly in from as far away as California and Oregon.”

dog bumper bomber contest at squadfest
How far do you think you could bomb a bumper? (Photo courtesy of Dive Bomb Industries)

A Little Something for Everyone

Variety is the spice of life, and it’s this smorgasbord that made for a wildly successful event. Like many other summer shindigs for waterfowlers, SquadFest is built around several calling contests, but here, they’re not the focal point. “SquadFest is a two-day waterfowl festival,” Tolliver added. “It’s not just a calling contest or a one-day show.”

SquadFest was stuffed with so much to do and offered a little bit of everything for every member of the family. Vendor row was bumping all weekend with many of your favorite gear and equipment manufacturers like BOSS Shotshells, Blind Spot Outdoors, Gun Dog Outdoors, High ‘N Dry, and J2 Ice Ripper, just to name a few., It also featured a cornhole tournament, food and drink trucks, Bumper Bomber challenge, and a concert by Murphy500. Oh, and if that’s not enough to redline your FOMO-factor, there was even a catered dinner, shuttle service, and nearby camping—what more could a waterfowler ask for?

vendor booths at squadfest
The vendor booths at SquadFest were buzzing with excitement. (Photo courtesy of Dive Bomb Industries)

Dog Days of Summer

Another captivating component of SquadFest quickly went to the dogs. On both Friday and Saturday, professional dog trainer Marty Roberts of Sporting Life Kennels was on-site to present retriever training seminars.

Another crowd favorite was the retriever combine challenge, a three-part duck dog competition, which included a 60-yard bumper dash, speed swim, and a dock jump. This unique canine contest put both the handler’s ability and their dog’s cooperation to the test, with cash and gear prize packs awarded to the top three dogs.

Marty Roberts of Sporting Life Kennels at squadfest
If you can't get enough duck dog action, SquadFest has your antidote! (Photo courtesy of Dive Bomb Industries)

Answering the Call

With the calling contest circuit adjusting to shifting trends and continuing to recover in the post-pandemic world, Dive Bomb’s SquadFest is quickly rising to become one of the industry’s most popular stages to showcase the best and emerging duck and goose callers on the planet. A total of seven calling contests were held over two days with well over 115 contestants competing in in novice goose, novice duck, two-man meat duck, junior goose, junior meat duck, open meat duck, and open goose contests. If you’re thinking about testing the waters of comp calling, there’s no better place than the ‘Fest to surround yourself with the encouragement and support from fellow competitors. Contestants were rewarded for their efforts with tons of Dive Bomb gear, prizes from other vendors, and a total of $30,000 in cash payouts.

“These callers are all incredible,” added Tolliver. “They’re fiercely competitive with each other, but they’ll be the first ones to step in and help someone new to calling that’s ready to learn.” And to put your “comp calling is dead” fears to bed, given the sheer numbers of junior and novice contestants who participated, it’s pretty clear that comp calling is indeed alive and well.

two-man meat duck calling contest on stage at squadfest
Two-man meat duck calling contest. (Photo courtesy of Dive Bomb Industries)

SquadFest 2022 Calling Contest Results

Open Goose (14 Competitors)

  1. Mike Benjamin
  2. Robbie Iverson
  3. Trevor Shannahan
  4. John Walls
  5. Teddy Hoover

Open Meat Duck (21 Competitors)

  1. Cory Niccum
  2. Trevor Shannahan
  3. Mike Benjamin
  4. Seth Fields
  5. Dan Goetz

Two-Man Meat Duck (18 Teams)

  1. Trevor Shannahan / Cory Niccum
  2. Dan Goetz / Mike Benjamin
  3. Seth Fields / Cory Niccum
  4. Forrest Carvajal / Payton Parker
  5. Tyler Heaton / Matt Rustad 
competition duck callers on stage at squadfest
Shout out to all the winners of the calling contests, but a big round of applause for all of the 115+ individuals who competed over the weekend. (Photo courtesy of Dive Bomb Industries)

Novice Goose (17 Competitors)

  1. Austin Schelander
  2. Joshua Elchynski
  3. Cahill Horner
  4. Ben Heron 
  5. Drake Simmons

Novice Meat Duck (27 Competitors) 

  1. Payton Parker
  2. Forrest Carvajal
  3. Cahill Horner
  4. Mike Dlugos
  5. Lane Dunning 

Junior Goose (15 Competitors)

  1. Joshua Elchynski
  2. Alden Pugh
  3. JT Johnson
  4. Carey Mitchell
  5. Logan Heibner

Junior Meat Duck (21 Competitors)

  1. Logan Heibner
  2. Alden Pugh
  3. Will Hurley
  4. Joshua Elchynski
  5. Nate Heibner

Eyes on the Prize

SquadFest was once again a major success and stands to become a mainstay summer waterfowl festival. While the Dive Bomb crew is resting and recuperating, they’re already starting to think of ways to make next year’s event even better. “We’ll sit down to talk about things that went well and things we can do better, especially for the kids. We want to have more activities for them next time,” Tolliver shared.

The team at Dive Bomb Industries truly values not just their faithful fans, but the waterfowl community as whole, so preserving the family-friendly, social gathering format of the festival is important. “Knowing our style, we’ll likely kick it up some, but we want to keep that personal vibe, because at this size, all of us and the vendors are totally approachable. This year’s SquadFest was a great success for the entire sport of waterfowl hunting. Everyone can see this is a real tight community. We can all come together to share stories and ideas as a group of like-minded people that have a common interest in chasing this crazy addiction.”

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