Harry Milton “Butch” Richenback grew up destined to be involved in the Duck Calling/hunting industry. After school he used to ride his bike to a rice field close to town, throw out a couple of decoys, sit down and cover up with a burlap coat his mother had made for him and commence to calling ducks. This turned into a passion for blowing and eventually making duck calls.
Spending time with the top call maker of the era, Chic Majors, maker of the famed Dixie Mallard duck calls, Butch watched and studied every move Chic made and soon became a helpful hand around Chic’s shop. Along with learning the intricacies of call making, he also learned the art of blowing a duck call. Butch entered his first duck calling contest at the age of 11 in 1957, and emerged the 1957 Junior World duck calling Champion. Later, with bigger aspirations and more tutelage from his mentor, Richenback had bigger goals in mind as he readied himself for the1972 Arkansas State Championship. Butch never lacked confidence, and before the event he bet another competitor that he would win the state contest and then win the ’72 Worlds later that evening. He won the bet, and became the 1972 World Champion Duck Caller. After winning the championship in 1972, Butch was then eligible to compete in the highly coveted Champion of Champions contest, held every five years. He won the Champion of Champions title in 1975 and retired from sanctioned competition.
In 1976, after the passing of his mentor Chic Majors, Butch sold his first duck call. After that first one was sold, Rich-N- Tone Duck calls was born. Since then, a combination of over 100 Men’s, Womens, Intermediate and Junior World Championships along with 2 World Live Duck calling contests and 5 Champion of Champions have been won using a Rich-N- Tone duck call, and all of those people were either completely taught or at least coached in some way by Butch Richenback.
Butch has always been the first person to help the youth of the area. He was director of the Stuttgart Youth Center from 1969 to 1994. Several of those 100 plus championship titles were a direct result of Butch teaching duck calling through his youth calling clinic that has been held every year since 1969 and still continues today. The clinic starts in October and culminates at Stuttgart’s Wings over the Prairie festival in November with its own contest.
Besides being busy with the duck call business, Butch had an interest in making Stuttgart a better place and sat on the Stuttgart City Council for 8 years before being elected the town’s mayor, a position he held for 12 years.
The reins of Rich-N- Tone Duck Calls are now in the hands of Stuttgart Native John Stephens, 3 time World Champion and Champion of Champions duck caller who just happened to be one of the many students of Butch’s Duck Calling Clinics. Although Butch is no longer with us, his spirit continues today. Not only in making calls, but also continuing the tradition of coaching and teaching duck calling to young and old duck callers alike.
Join us for the second annual Arkansas Waterfowler Hall of Fame. The second class will be inducted on November 30, 2017. This evening event will share the stories of the impact of their contributions as waterfowl enthusiasts gather to celebrate this time honored tradition.
The creation of this new program is a long overdue effort to preserve the contributions of those individuals who have gone above and beyond through dedicated time, resources and other work to enhance the waterfowl industry in Arkansas.Nominate Today!
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