Waterfowl enthusiasts won’t want to miss Squadfest, an extravaganza of all things outdoors. From dock-diving dogs to duck call competitions to a vendor fair featuring an extensive array of products, it’s the perfect way to spend the day.

For the uninitiated, successfully mimicking a duck or goose call is more nuanced than you might think. These calls are akin to musical instruments, with sophisticated skill and technique required to capture the cadence of these birds’ sounds.

By Natalie-Elizabeth Tan

Squadfest, an annual celebration hosted by Dive Bomb Industries, has become a cornerstone event for waterfowl enthusiasts in Missouri and beyond. This year’s event, held July 19 at 370 Lakeside Park in St. Peters, includes duck and goose calling contests, gun dogs competing in a retriever combine, and a massive vendor fair offering anything and everything outdoors related.

For the uninitiated, successfully mimicking a duck or goose call is more nuanced than you might think. These calls are akin to musical instruments, with sophisticated skill and technique required to capture the cadence of these birds’ sounds. Competitors will be evaluated by judges who hail from all over the country.

“It’s essentially who can blow the best routine with the fewest amount of errors, and really just show their mastery of that call,” says Kyle Doherty, customer service lead.

Competition categories include under-16, novice, and even a regional qualifier, which sees winners advance to the world championships.

The retriever combine is a wildly popular event that has been sold out every year since its inception. It’s composed of three contests: a 60-yard dash, speed swim, and long jump off a dock. The dog that obtains the best cumulative score wins.

The vendor fair at Squadfest is a huge draw.

Professional dog trainers from Show-Me Retrievers will host a demonstration to show what a highly trained retriever is capable of. Many owners may not know this, but these Very Good Boys can do so much more than just retrieving and listening to commands. They’re able to act on different whistle commands, follow hand signals, and act in perfect tandem with their owners. Pretty cool, huh? The pros also will be sharing handy dog training tips that you can hopefully implement with your own.

The vendor fair is a huge draw, featuring a plethora of vendors catering to every outdoor need you can think of. Bringing your kids? Squadfest has you covered with its kids’ zone, with lots to keep them occupied while you ooh and ahh over the many vendors. At this fair, book your next hunting trip, customize a waterfowl call, or even purchase firearms and taxidermy supplies. 

This full-day event is great for networking and forging friendships with fellow outdoor lovers. 

“Duck hunters are a lot like fishermen or any outdoorsmen where there’s a lot of storytelling that goes on, so it’s a great way to meet people, make new friends, make new hunting connections,” Doherty says.

All photos courtesy of Dive Bomb Industries.

For hundreds more events, visit Missouri Life’s Event Calendar.