State oyster shucking champs crowned

From left are women’s pro division winner Isabella “Gator” Macbeth and men’s pro and overall winner Ian Johnson.

by Tom Chillemi

URBANNA—Ian Johnson of Virginia Beach was the overall winner of the Urbanna Oyster Festival Shucking Contest Saturday morning.

Johnson topped Isabella “Gator” Macbeth of Charleston, S.C., in the finals.

This was the first Urbanna Oyster Festival Shucking title for Johnson, 29, who was third in the men’s professional division in 2018. Johnson got started shucking while working in restaurants where oysters are opened from the “hinge.” He uses a “Dexter” knife with a wide plastic handle as opposed to the wooden handles commonly seen. He says the blade is more sturdy.

To reach the professional finals, Johnson had a corrected time of 3:10 to open two dozen oysters and defeated…