The oyster shucking competition has been the centerpiece of OysterFest since its inception. Each year, the West Coast Oyster Shucking Championships are sponsored by the Shelton Skookum Rotary Club as the centerpiece of the festival. Over the course of two days of competition, contestants vie for the opportunity to claim title to the fastest oyster shucker, or the best half-shell oyster shucker (some past contestants have been known to claim both titles in a single year!).

The competition goes through more than 500 dozen oysters through the course of the trials, which usually run from 11AM through 4PM on both days of OysterFest. Speed is the primary factor on Saturday, when each shucker is given 24 oysters to shuck as quickly as possible – with the fastest times usually coming in under two minutes!

On Sunday, speed is still a factor, but even more so is presentation in what are called the half-shell trials. Each contestant must not only shuck 24 oysters, but place each on its back in the half shell. Any cuts in the oyster itself, or pieces of shell in the finished half-shell, will cause points to be deducted from that shucker’s overall score – which means the person who shucks fastest may not necessarily end up the winner. Also on Sunday a prize is awarded for Best Presentation for the tray of oysters on the half-shell which looks the nicest.

The shucked oysters from each heat are passed out to audience members after judging, which with the excitement of the trials themselves, makes shucking a consistent crowd pleaser every year.

Cash prizes are awarded each day:  Saturday 1st Place for Speed Shucking is $400.  On Sunday, the winner gets $600 for Half-Shell competition. Prizes are given through 6th place each day.