The 2022 Outdoor Leaders Award: Chuck Delaney and Game Fair
Editor’s note: See the complete version of this story in the August 19 print version of Outdoor News. You can pick up your free copy this weekend at Game Fair.
During the six days of Game Fair, as Chuck Delaney sits in the Information Center tent at the center of the Game Fair grounds, watching the culmination of a year’s worth of organizing come to fruition, he marvels at the number of people walking around with young kids and strollers.
“When the event first started, it was mostly men who attended, but we really worked hard to make it a great family event. It’s neat to see because that’s what it’s all about – passing along the tradition,” said Delaney, founder of Game Fair and still the primary coordinator of the annual event held in Ramsey.
After 41 years of running the event, family remains a central focus of Game Fair, but take a look at the list of vendors and organizations with tents at the event and something else becomes clear: This is an event about promoting conservation and the outdoors.
“My mother and father have always been strong proponents of the outdoors, and Game Fair has given my father a focus,” said Sherry Miller, daughter of Game Fair founders Chuck and his wife, Loral I Delaney. Miller is among the dedicated people who make the event possible.
“Game Fair has always been a family-driven fair, and my father’s focus has always been for the betterment of organizations that promote and protect the outdoors, including dog clubs, conservation organizations, and clay target shooting clubs,” Miller said.
She called Game Fair her father’s greatest contribution to the state and cited his willingness to make the event about other people and giving them a platform to talk about the things they love and support.
“Game Fair is not about Chuck and Loral I; it’s about the state, and the people in it, and these sports we love to do. He wants to see that flourish and continue,” she said.
For all those reasons, Outdoor News presented Chuck Delaney with the first-ever “Lifetime Achievement Outdoor Leaders Award” on Friday, Aug. 12, the opening day of Game Fair 2022.
Outdoor News Managing Editor Rob Drieslein said, “We typically honor a club or sportsmen’s organization, but we thought this would be an obvious year to recognize an organization, and a person, who has done a tremendous amount for conservation over the years – Mr. Chuck Delaney and Game Fair.”
“Thank you very much, and I share this award with my partner,” Delaney said, referring to Loral I, who passed away in September 2021.
This year’s was the first Game Fair without her physical presence, but Loral I is forever part of Armstrong Ranch Kennels where she lived her entire life and where Game Fair is held.
Visit the Game Fair office and the 2023 dates already are posted on the wall: August 11-13 and 18-20. Delaney said he’s already sold 20 booths for 2023, and there are more who couldn’t make it this year due to not having enough product or volunteers but who want to come next year.
“The big thing is to continue going at it and keep busy – I have to keep busy – and at my age you have to be pretty careful with that,” Chuck said.
The big business on Armstrong Ranch is not Game Fair, it’s the kennels, which his daughter Sherry and son-in-law Eric Miller now operate.
Chuck said he sometimes wonders where the time and happenings of the past 41 years have gone – as well as the entire 88 years of his “luck-filled” life, as he called it.
“It makes you think of all the wonderful people who have been here. It’s gone by so fast, and I hope we can keep it going,” he said.
Ron Hustvedt’s Love and Respect for his Friend, Chuck Delaney
The author of this story, Ron Hustvedt, Jr., has written about Game Fair-related items for almost 25 years and worked the event the past 17 years. In that time, he’s gotten to know Chuck well and is proud to be one of his trusted assistants at Game Fair.
“I am happy to call him a friend along with his daughter, Sherry, and her wonderful family. Loral I Delaney was an amazing woman and we all deeply miss her,” Hustvedt said.
In writing the article about the Outdoor Leaders Lifetime Achievement Award for Chuck Delaney, there was so much more that people had to say than what Outdoor News could squeeze into the article. There is so much to the story about the amazing lives of Chuck and Loral I and their contributions to conservation and the outdoors.
“It’s been an honor to tell, and be part of, the Game Fair story for so many years. I share Chuck’s desire to see this tremendously impactful event continue. It’s a Minnesota institution vital to our outdoor heritage, and he has been the driving force that makes it continue after all these years,” Hustvedt said.