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Humbled and Surprised

When I joined the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association in 2019, I never imagined that I would have any success. The organization is loaded with well-known names in the outdoor industry. Writers like Steve Sorensen, Charlie Birchfield, Tyler Frantz, and Tim Flanigan were all people I admired and looked up to. I never thought that I would be elbow to elbow with these fantastic authors for award pictures.

The 2022 POWA Conference took place from May 18th through the 20th. I could not attend any of the events on the 18th or 19th due to my teaching schedule. On the morning of May 20th, I jumped in my car and drove 4 hours to Mansfield University. The Craft Improvement sessions started at 8 am, but I knew there was no way I was getting to Mansfield at that time.

I arrived at the university a few minutes before 9 am. I made my way to Hickory Hall and was able to join the 9 am session. Over the next few hours, I was immersed in presentations that helped me understand essential aspects of promoting the outdoor industry. Ralph Scherder had an outstanding presentation on self-publishing and blogging. After his session, Ralph took time out of his schedule to talk with me about pdf files and ebooks. I had a million questions, and Ralph answered as many as possible.

Mansfield University provided a delicious lunch that the Rocky Mount Elk Foundation sponsored. I had no idea that the state of Pennsylvania ranks #2 for most members in the RMEF. Colorado is the only other state that has more RMEF members. The RMEF sent a video showing how the members are helping improve elk habitat and environment. I have always wanted to hunt elk out west, so this video presentation was fascinating. Good food and great entertainment make for excellent conversation amongst outdoorsmen.

After lunch, Harry Guyer delivered my First Place plaque from the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Writers Association. I couldn't attend the MDOWA banquet due to my busy soccer schedule, so I didn't realize I won for Best Magazine Article. Buckmasters Magazine published my article, Young At Heart. The story was about an 87-year-old gentleman who shot the largest buck of his life. I thanked Harry for bringing me the plaque and then attended a few scheduled meetings.

The highlight of the conference is the Awards Ceremony, where winners are revealed for Craft and Specialty Awards. Thirty-nine members submitted 350 entries in 28 categories. I was shocked and honored to win First Place for my Blog, Traveler, published by Global Outdoors. Later in the presentation, I won First Place in the Youth and the Shooting/Hunting Sports Award category for my article, After Effect, published in the December 2021 issue of the PA Game News. This is the second time I have taken First Place in that category in three years. Last year I finished First Runner-Up.

Humbled and surprised are the only two words that come to mind after the successful year I have experienced. I was fortunate to have multiple articles published in the PA Game News, a feature article in Pennsylvania Bowhunting, one article in Buckmasters, two stories in Pennsylvania Turkey Talk, and three feature blogs for Global Outdoors. My passion for sharing stories grows each day, and I pray that 2022 is as successful as 2021. Thank you, MDOWA and POWA, for allowing me to share my stories.


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