Stephanie Mallory is a mom, a hunter and Realtree’s PR Coordinator. She’s here to deliver an insider’s look at the outdoor business and give her opinion on all things outdoors—whether you asked for it or not.
July 29, 2012 | By Stephanie Mallory
Her gold medal win in women’s skeet shooting at the 2012 London Olympics on Sunday makes Kimberly Rhode the first American to take an individual-sport medal in five consecutive Olympics. Rhode tied the world record and set an Olympic record with 99 points.
Rhode won the 1996 Olympic Gold Medal in Double Trap, the 2000 Olympic Bronze Medal, the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal and the 2008 Olympic Silver Medal in International Skeet.
I had the opportunity to interview Rhode several months ago about her Olympic history and aspirations, her passion for hunting and her involvement in youth shooting through the NWTF's JAKES program.
Rhode has many firsts to her name. As the youngest person to ever make an Olympic shooting team at just 17 years old, she knows what it’s like to work toward a dream and succeed with the odds against her.
Rhode was only 10 years old when she began her quest for the Olympics, and she was one of only a handful of females in a male-dominated sport, but she didn’t let these obstacles stop her. In fact, she overcame these hurdles while helping to ensure that young people interested in following in her footsteps reach their goals as well.
Rhode understands the important role mentorship plays in the development of a young shooter and credits her mentors with much of her success. Rhode came from a line of shooters. Her grandfather taught her father who taught her mother, and both of her parents taught her. Realizing that many youngsters don’t have parents who participate in outdoor sports, such as shooting, Rhode uses much of her free time mentoring young folks in the sport. One of her most favorite programs to work with is the NWTF’s JAKES Program.
“The youth are the future of this sport,” Rhode says. “I care very much about passing my love for shooting on to the younger generations. The JAKES program provides me with an outlet for doing just that.”
Rhode says the JAKES program encompasses what the shooting sports are all about – getting off the couches and into the outdoors. It’s about making friends and having fun.
That’s precisely what Rhode loves about the sport, and it’s her motivation for success. In addition to her five Olympic medals, Rhode has won hundreds of medals for her shooting accomplishments. Earlier this year, she took first place (and established a new world record) at the 2012 International Shooting Sports Federation (ISSF) World Cup. Rhode established a new world record in 2012 ISSF World Cup regular competition with a perfect score of 75/75, and tied the previous world record of 99/100 in the 2012 ISSF World Cup Finals.
Her numerous Olympic medals draw crowds and questions from youth who attend the JAKES events. One of the most memorable events occurred during a NWTF convention.
“Thousands of kids had been bussed in from their schools to attend the event,” Rhode says. “I, along with several other athletes, spoke to the children about our sports and the Olympics. At the end, we held a question-and-answer session. The children asked some clever questions. Afterward, we mingled and talked with the students. We let them see and hold the Olympic medals and we signed autographs. Everyone involved had a great time and learned a lot.”
Rhode says when she speaks to children who want to follow in her footsteps, she tells them to never give up.
“I know that’s what everyone says, but they say it because it’s so true,” Rhode says. “Everyone has bumps in the road. How you overcome those bumps determines your success. Anyway, it’s more about the journey than the goal.”
And, what a journey it’s been for Rhode. “I never would have dreamed as a child participating in club shoots that I’d end up competing in five Olympics. I started off hunting with my family and shooting in the occasional local match. Then someone said to my parents, ‘She’s pretty good. She ought to compete more.’ And, that’s what I did, and that’s the opportunity I want for other youngsters as well.”
Have you watched any of the Olympic games? Did you see Rhode win her fifth Olympic medal?
July 26, 2012 | By Stephanie Mallory
He’s a hunter, a self-described “country boy” and an Olympian. Twenty-three-year-old Brady Ellison is a member of the US Archery Olympics Team and a favorite to take home the gold in the 2012 London Olympics. Currently the No. 1-ranked archer in the world, Ellison makes no apologies when it comes to his passion for hunting. He grew up hunting on his grandfather’s ranch in Arizona and got his first compound bow when he was 7. He enjoys hunting deer, elk, bear and javelina. He killed his first bear when he was just 11 years old.
Ellison has been featured in a number of news articles highlighting both his hunt for animals and for the Olympic Gold. I tried setting up an interview with Ellison, but was told by USA Archery personnel that Ellison is not allowed to participate in an interview for an editorial featured on a commercial website during the entire period of the Olympic Games. But, I do have an interview set up with him after the Olympics that I hope to share with you on The RealBlog.
From what I’ve read about Ellison, he’s definitely got what it takes to bring home the Olympic Gold. In fact, he’s been so committed to that goal that he dropped out of high school at the age of 16 to move to the Olympic training center to help better develop his skills. His decision paid off. In fact, he got so good that he made the 2008 Olympic squad at age 19. During that time, he was also suffering from a labral tear in his hip stemming from Perthes disease, a condition affecting his hip since childhood. The 2008 injury required surgery, but he put it off until after the Olympics. He advanced to the final bracket in Beijing, but did not medal in either the individual or team competition.
Things are looking better for Ellison for the 2012 Olympics. He's been ranked No. 1 in the world the past two years and he's won 35 of the 37 world events he entered last year. In recent interviews, Ellison says his goal is to not only win the Olympic Gold, but to be known as the best archer who’s ever lived.
Let’s root for this fellow hunter during the 2012 London Olympics. Be sure to tune in to the Olympic Archery competition, which begins on July 27. Do you plan on watching it?
July 23, 2012 | By Stephanie Mallory
I don't like big crowds, but I suffered the aggravation of a huge crowd so I could take my 4-year-old, Ransom, to the 29th Annual World Deer Expo. Held at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex this past weekend, the Annual Word Deer Expo is the largest consumer hunting show in the country, and it continues to grow year after year, despite the hurting economy.
As is always the case at these consumer shows, the celebrities attracted the biggest crowds, although they weren’t always easy to find. But, I knew all I had to do to locate “The Crush” hosts, Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, was to look for the longest line. Sure enough, I spotted them in the back of the exhibition hall signing autographs for a winding line of fans. I had the opportunity to chat with Lee and Tiffany for a minute or two, but I cut my conversation short after seeing the irritated looks on the faces of those waiting behind me. Some of the fans obviously didn’t appreciate the extra time I spent talking to the celebrity couple. But, I did learn that the couple got a new puppy that they’re training to hunt sheds like their shed-hunting dog, Tank. Tiffany promised to send me pics of their new puppy to share with you.
I had an opportunity to chat with Katherine Webb, Miss Alabama USA, who was signing autographs as well. We’d talked on the phone several months ago for a blog I wrote about her pageant endeavors, her modeling work for Realtree and her passion for hunting, but I’d never met her in person. Well, I got to meet her face to face for the first time at the show and must say she's probably the most beautiful woman I’ve ever met. Apparently many of the men walking the show agree as they were stumbling over each other trying to get her autograph. Despite the attention, she seemed humble and sweet.
I ran into my friend and turkey hunting extraordinaire, Eddie Salter, who’s always super friendly and talkative. In fact, he was chatting it up with several fans who all seemed anxious for his turkey-hunting advice and tips.
In addition to the celebrities, hundreds of exhibitors filled the convention center, and all seemed to be getting their fair share of business and interest. A number of events and giveaways drew crowds as well. Other popular attractions included the live animal exhibit, the Alabama Outdoor News Shoot Out (New Truck Give Away) and a trout fishing tank for kids. I was quite surprised when Ransom actually caught a trout during the five-minute time limit. Ransom also enjoyed the Kid Zone, which had a number of inflatables and games, as well as an archery range, which he especially liked.
All in all, it was a great event and I encourage anyone who lives in the area to attend next year. There’s plenty for the entire family to do and see. Did any of you attend the Annual World Deer Expo this year?
July 19, 2012 | By Stephanie Mallory
Do you live in or around Louisiana’s Atchafalaya Basin and hunt gators? If so, you could be the next star on History Channel’s hit reality TV show “Swamp People.” If you think you’ve got what it takes to be part of the “Swamp People” cast, make sure you attend one of the upcoming casting calls held this month and next in parts of Texas and Louisiana.
According to www.thecastingfirm.com, Original Media Productions and The Casting Firm are seeking experienced alligator hunters – real men and women who live off the swamp.
I spoke via email to Goloka Bolte, supervising casting producer for "Swamp People," who told me, "We're looking for people who have a legacy of hunting alligators - they've been doing it since they were kids and it's ingrained in who they are. They need to be the real deal and alligator hunting is a way of life for them and not just for show or sport. We're open to all kinds of stories - male or female hunters, families, partners. It's important that they can tell a story. The show is dictated by who the talent is and where they're going. They have to be good at what they do, and they've got to be interesting!"
The producers got just what they wanted when they signed up Troy Landry for the show several years ago. “Behind the Scenes with Troy Landry,” written by Joe Martino for Realtree.com, gives you a personal glimpse into Landry’s personality and the type of person the producers want to cast.
You can find out more info and apply via email at www.thecastingfirm.com.
So, do you think you have what it takes? Do any of you plan to attend the casting call?
Casting Call Schedule
BATON ROUGE, LA: Sunday, July 22nd, 2 – 6 PM
Twin Peaks Restaurant
6990 Siegen Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70809
BEAUMONT, TX: Sunday, July 22nd, 1 – 4 PM
4020 Dowlen Road, Beaumont TX.
HOUMA, LA: Saturday, July 28th, 11 – 5 PM
Big Al’s Seafood
1377 West Tunnel Blvd Houma, LA 70360
WEBSTER, TX: Saturday, July 28th, 12 – 3pm
Buffalo Wild Wings
528 W Bay Area Blvd, Webster, TX
LAFAYETTE, LA: Saturday August 4th, 12 – 6 PM
522 Jefferson St. Lafayette, LA 70501
July 16, 2012 | By Stephanie Mallory
The animals are reminding us again that we’re not always at the top of the food chain. I wrote a blog in May about a number of animal attacks that occurred back to back. Well, it’s happened again.
Just a few days ago, a Washington state woman sustained 16 puncture wounds and more than 100 lacerations after being attacked by a pack of raccoons. I’ve heard of people being attacked by a single raccoon, but never a pack. Apparently, she was jogging with her dog when it broke loose and chased some raccoons up a tree. When she tried to retrieve her dog’s leash, three other raccoons charged out of the grass after her. She tripped and fell, and, as if scripted out of a horror movie, they attacked. Animal control believes the attack occurred because the adult raccoons were trying to protect their young.
If your name is Kaleb and you live in Florida, I'd recommend not swimming in gator-infested waters anytime soon. Earlier this month, two teen boys, each named Kaleb, were attacked by alligators in a five-day span. Last Monday, 17-year-old Kaleb Langdale lost part of his right arm in an alligator attack while he was swimming in Florida’s Caloosahatchee River. Friends say the gator swam right at him, grabbing his arm and pulling him under the water. Langdale pulled free from the gator, severing his arm in the process. The 11-foot gator was found and killed Monday evening after the attack that happened. The arm was recovered, but was unable to be reattached.
The Thursday before, Kaleb Towles, 15, was spear-fishing with his grandfather at Keaton Beach near Tallahassee in water 3-feet deep when a 10-foot-long gator came out of nowhere and bit him on the chest. Luckily, the gator released its grip. Towles has recovered from his injuries.
The first week of July, an unidentified man was camping close to the Yuba River, near Nevada City, Calif., when he was mauled by a mountain lion. He received scratches and puncture wounds to his hand, back and scalp. The attack lasted for a couple minutes, then the lion backed off and stared at him for half a minute before running off. After the attack, the man drove himself to the hospital where he was treated and released. This event marks the first time on record that a California mountain lion has attacked a camper sleeping in a sleeping bag.
So, are more animals attacking, or are just more attacks being reported?
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