Outdoorsman Hall of Fame poised to induct new class
Last year, I attended for the first time the New York State Outdoorsman Hall of Fame induction banquet, typically held in late April. My reason for going was to be there for the induction of a friend and colleague.
I had a great evening as I ran into some old friends and made some new ones. Most of all, I came away with an appreciation for a number of individuals who have made some amazing contributions to New York’s sporting community, past and present.
Earlier this spring, the NYSOHOF announced its class of 2019 inductees, who will be honored on April 27 at the annual induction banquet in the Village of Canastota, in Madison County, and at just about the centerpoint of New York state. Following a few words from a chosen presenter, each new inductee will take the podium, share a few anecdotes and thank their families and supporters. Soon, a plaque in their honor will be on display at the Wildlife Sports & Educational Museum in Vails Mill in Fulton County.
Although it is much deserved, and I’m sure appreciated, there is so much more to these folks than dinner, speeches and a plaque. Those who are enshrined are the backbone of all things sporting in this state, and one has to wonder where we’d be without them. One also might wonder who will one day fill their shoes, but that’s another story.
These sportsmen and women have played key roles in some sort of hunting-, fishing- or tapping-related scenario. Many are volunteers in one form or another; whether it be in a youth program or perhaps as a longtime hunting education instructor. Some are professionals in the outdoor industry who also happen to be rather very active sportspersons who pay it forward and take things to another level.
As I sat in the crowd at last year’s event I heard story after story about youth mentoring programs, from both the inductee and even the beneficiary who might be presenting the award. I listened as inductees talked about leading blind people through the woods, teaching kids how to cast fly rods or creating a program that helped get kids outdoors in one way or another, which is where they belong. All of these people did these things not once, but year after year, in some cases encompassing entire lifetimes. I remember wondering, if this class has done so much, what have those in the past done?
Looking back through that list on the NYSOHOF website, I spotted some familiar names. Some are people I know, others are people I wish I had known. But whether I know them or not is irrelevant. They’re all there for a reason, or likely a stack of reasons.
At the end of the day and what is most important, especially in today’s world, is that we have dedicated people amongst our sporting brethren who still go out of their way to make sure others enjoy the great outdoors in the manner they do.
So here’s congratulating not only this year’s class of inductees in the New York State Outdoorsman Hall of Fame, but those who have also come before them.