Clayton: Outdoor Ron-de-Voux a success
If you ever had the slightest inkling that the outdoor lifestyle might be slipping away, you should have been at our second Outdoor Ron-de-Voux in Greenville last Saturday.
Two years ago, Randy Koon, who owns the Carquest Auto Supply and “Friendlee,” a well-known personality in northeast Texas and I decided an outdoor get together would be nice. We wanted the event to be outdoors where we could have a campfire for folks to gather and drink cowboy coffee and sample some outdoor cooking such as Dutch Kettle blackberry cobbler and pork fajitas.
Our first event was much fun and a good crowd showed up. This past weekend, the crowd from the first year tripled.
Randy Koon owns the land where the event is held is a "car man" and well connected with folks that own and show antique cars. This year’s event included the addition of an antique car show, the proceeds of which went to “Remember for Me, Alzheimer’s Caregivers." We were entertained by some awesome music furnished by Matt Middleton and Top Rail Cowboy Church.
The outdoor crowd was assigned an area under some big oaks atop the hill at the event, the focal point was a campfire I kept burning throughout the event. Friends would wander by, enjoy a cup of coffee from my big, old, enamel pot setting on the fire, sample a little blackberry cobbler from the Dutch Kettle or maybe a fajita.
My good friend Bill Carey, with Striper Express at Lake Texoma, brought some very fresh striper fillets and talked striper fishing with a great number of folks and my nephew Billy Kilpatrick who guided on Lavon for crappie for over two decades served as official fish fryer. I noticed a few folks quizzing this long time guide about catching crappie!
ON TO THE OUTDOOR TALK We had a smorgasbord of outdoor pros this year and I’ll try to remember and mention each of them.
My longtime friend Larry Weishuhn (aka "Mr. Whitetail”) made the drive up from his home in southeast Texas. Larry is a storehouse of knowledge on anything hunting related and he was kept busy visiting with the many fans that stopped by to chat about deer hunting or quiz him on some of his hunting adventures. Always a good time when Larry is around!
Another great friend, Jeff Rice, who produces our “A Sportsman’s Life” weekly video, was present with his wife Demi. We have had some great times hunting, fishing and filming together through the years.
Stubby Stubblefield, Lake Fork catfish guide and maker of Stubbys Cheesebait, and his wife Sandie were present around the campfire talking catfishing, of course!
Jerry Daniel who is a long-time friend, cowboy and bull rider in his younger day, and his lovely wife stopped by and talked about his adventures growing up in very remote southeast Oklahoma back when the country was really wild!
Kenneth Tallent, longtime friend and host of “Double Lung Outdoors” on the Pursuit Channel and Emerson Adams were talking about the TV show. Kenneth has hunted on several continents and enjoys sharing his adventures. When hunting with Kenneth in North Dakota, I once watched him glassing a big mule deer buck from over a mile away and then making a successful stalk within bow range, difference in terrain and a nearby bush blocking the arrow’s path making the shot impossible. Kenneth is a very devoted and determined hunter.
My friend Royce Carney, a veteran turkey and whitetail guide, was there "talking turkey" and showing off his brand new line of camo (www.trhp.com) that I consider perfect for spring turkey hunting.
Coy Hirth with Slappy’s Hog Trapping stopped by to talk about his nonprofit operation that not only removes wild hogs, but helps supply tasty wild pork at no charge to those that need it. Coy has developed a system of working with Kuby’s Meat Processing to grind the fresh pork at a nominal fee and then distribute it to food banks, churches, etc. Funding for the operation comes from fees charged to companies, farms and ranches for removal of the destructive wild porkers and donations. Coy also receives wild hog trapped by others. Obviously, he can’t cover the entire state, but the system he has developed will work anywhere there is nuisance hogs (much of the state), folks in need, and a nearby processor willing to handle the butchered meat.
The hard-working group that developed and now markets all sorts of scents and scent-removal products, TRHP Outdoors (www.trphoutdoors.com) chose the event for what they plan to become an annual reunion. I was fortunate to begin using products developed by this team a couple of years ago. I’ve spent many hours visiting with these folks about the different scents and attractants that I have helped field test but this was my first opportunity to actually meet them. Watch this company grow as more and more folks learn just how good their products are.
It’s difficult to describe my feelings about this now-annual event. It gives me an opportunity to do a little outdoor cooking and set around the campfire and visit, face to face with folks that have been reading my outdoors articles in newspapers and magazines for just more than 30 years. I even had one little lady using a walker stop by accompanied by her daughter. She mentioned articles I had written decades ago that I’d long forgotten and told me how much it meant to her to vicariously continue to "live the outdoor lifestyle she loves" by reading my articles. That little lady didn’t know it but she made an old outdoors writer feel pretty special and sparked me to continue doing what I’ve been doing for a long time!
Contact outdoors writer Luke Clayton via www.catfishradio.org