Chopper Young wins in Boston again
With an oyster knife in his calloused right hand, William “Chopper” Young is a confident man. And for good reason — the Wellfleet, Mass., oyster shucker is one of the world’s best and on Monday he won the fourth annual oyster shucking contest at the International Boston Seafood Show.
He’s the only person to have ever won the contest. When asked how it felt to win yet again, in front of hundreds of show attendees gathered around the stage, he said, “Good.”
“It’s one of the smaller competitions I do,” continued Young, “but it’s really fun. We’re bringing it back home to Wellfleet!”
Young bested the field of 13 oyster shuckers with a blazing-fast time of 2 minutes, 1.44 seconds, more than 30 seconds faster than the second-place finisher, Edward Bolus, who finished at 2:36.84. All times were adjusted — penalty seconds were added for missing oysters, foreign substances, broken shells, cut oysters. Judges also deducted time for how the oysters were placed in the shell and if the oyster was not completely severed from the shell.
“It was a great field of shuckers,” said emcee Matthew DiMatteo, shellfish extraordinaire at American Mussel Harvesters of No. Kingstown, R.I., the organizing sponsor of the event. “I was expecting a surprise,” he added. He didn’t get one.
The third-place finisher was Yousef Ghalaini, who finished at 2:50.38, followed by fourth-place finisher Anthony Pane at 2:54.69 and fifth-place finisher Deborah Pratt at 2:56.00.
Young earned $500 for his win, while Bolus took home $300 and Ghalaini won $150 and a $50 gift certificate to Legal Sea Foods. Pane and Pratt each won $50 gift cards to Legal Sea Foods.
JP’s Shellfish of Eliot, Maine, provided the Atlantic oysters while Penn Cove Shellfish of Whidbey Island, Wash., and Hilton’s of Quilcene, Wash., provided the Pacific oysters.