A hardware haul for Minnesota BHA at 2022 national rendezvous

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Minnesota BHA brought a healthy group of conservation advocates to Missoula for the 11th annual national BHA Rendezvous. Enjoying some great camaraderie were: Aaron Hebeisen, Lukas Leaf, Rob Drieslein, Pete and Greg Kvale, Spencer Shaver, Jamie Carlson, and (kneeling) Mark Norquist. (Photo by David Lien)

Missoula, Mont. — A group of Minnesotans represented their home state with pride at the 11th annual Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Rendezvous last weekend at Fort Missoula Regional Park.

Before the final bonfire Saturday night, five members of the Minnesota BHA chapter would receive awards from the Montana-based national conservation group. BHA’s annual awards honor “unequaled commitment, tireless effort and ongoing dedication to public lands and waters, fish and wildlife and hunting and fishing.”

Two Minnesotans, Lukas Leaf and Spencer Shaver, received the Sigurd F. Olson Award, which acknowledges outstanding effort conserving rivers, lakes, or wetland habitat. As the executive director and conservation director respectfully for Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters, Leaf and Shaver have been advocating diligently to protect the nation’s most popular wilderness.

“I’ve had the pleasure of working closely with both Lukas Leaf and Spencer Shaver,” said BHA President and CEO Land Tawney. “It is an honor to recognize their steadfast contributions to the Boundary Waters. Their commitment, backcountry bona fides, and good nature helped carry the day for a 20-year moratorium on a mine proposed just a stone’s throw from the most visited wilderness in America. For that we are grateful.”

Twin Cities-based Outdoor News Managing Editor and Publisher Rob Drieslein received the Ted Trueblood Award for outstanding outdoors communicator. Named after former Field and Stream editor and Idaho-based outdoors writer Ted Trueblood, who died in 1982, the award is presented by BHA for exceptional communications work informing and inspiring people for the benefit of public lands, waters and wildlife.

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Above: Five Minnesotans brought home awards from last weekend’s national Backcountry Hunters and Anglers Rendezvous in Montana. They included Lukas Leaf (l) and Spencer Shaver (r) from Sportsmen for the Boundary Waters; Rob Drieslein (second from left); and father-son duo Greg and Pete (ctr) Kvale. Below: The Kvales hauled an aluminum canoe all the way from Minnesota to provide a little canoe country ambiance and give wild game cookoff judges a spot to sit while sampling the entries. (Photo courtesy of Aaron Hebeisen)

Screen Shot 2022 05 18 At 72340 Am Copy“Rob Drieslein not only is an expert communicator,” said Katie McKalip, BHA communications director. “He embodies the ethos that unites all of us in the family that is BHA. Most importantly he is as driven by and passionate about the backcountry experience as all of us are. This is what BHA envisioned when we conceived of the Ted Trueblood Award.”

Kvales defend title

Arguably the biggest question dominating north country minds as the 2022 Rendezvous approached was whether a father-son duo from central Minnesota could defend their wild game cookoff title. In 2021, Greg and Pete Kvale won with their “Minnesota Duck Camp”-themed meal.

This year, 10 teams participated from around the country for the annual cookoff, which has become more competitive every year.

The Kvales brought their A-game again in 2022 with a “Boundary Waters breakfast”-themed menu featuring Norsky wild rice pancakes and corned venison hash. And in the final award announcement of the night, the 300-person-strong  crowd roared its approval as the Kvales repeated as champs.

In accepting the cookoff trophy, Pete Kvale read a “Reflections from the North Country” quote from Sigurd F. Olson in the spirit of the BWCA theme: “No one has the right to destroy anything in the wilderness. Such things belong to all and must not be disturbed. Freedom gives no license to violate a heritage that belongs to the ages.”

As the duo wrapped up, Greg Kvale announced – to the crowd’s disappointment – that he and Pete would be retiring from the competition after 2022. Greg is a decorated Vietnam veteran and retired from the DNR, and Pete is an EMT and police officer.

“There’s no greater pleasure for me than celebrating something like this with my son,” Greg said. “We’re super proud to represent Minnesota.”

Watch for the Kvales’ complete set of recipes from the 2022 competition in a forthcoming edition of Outdoor News.

Other winners

Winners of other awards at the 2022 Rendezvous included:

  • The Arkansas chapter received the 2022 George Bird Grinnell “chapter of the year” award.
  • Liz Lynch, a Wyoming chapter leader from Jackson, received the Aldo Leopold Award, which honors exceptional work and dedication to the conservation of terrestrial wildlife habitat.
  • Mike Woods, of East Providence, R.I., won the 2022 Jim Posewitz Award, which acknowledges outstanding ethical behavior afield and the education of the outdoor public on ethical behavior.
  • BHA launched a new award, the AFI Volunteer of the Year. The winner was chosen by fellow volunteers based on the positive effects they have had on the Armed Forces Initiative, the military community, and the nation. This year’s AFI honoree was Marty Bartram from North Carolina.
  • BHA’s Rachel Carson Award honors young leaders for work on behalf of hunting, angling, and conservation. This year’s winner was Mateen Hessami, who served as president of the University of Montana chapter before taking on leadership at the University of British Columbia-Okanagan club, where he’s a grad student.
  • The 2022 Mike Beagle-Chairman’s award, given to someone who shows outstanding effort on behalf of BHA, was Joel Webster, of Missoula, the vice president of conservation at the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

To view the acceptance speeches from the Minnesota winners, check out this Youtube link here.

Categories: Hunting News, News

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