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7th Annual Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Banquet

7th Annual Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame Induction and Awards Banquet



If you were to cross a family reunion with an inaugural ball, throw in a smidgeon of Grand Ole Opry, early American history and Emmy Awards hosted by a bunch of fish yanking, turkey calling, deer hunting outdoors men and women then you’d have a close idea of the grand event in Nashville, TN on August 29 for the Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame induction. The ballroom of the Music City Sheraton was jam-packed with families and fans of past and present inductees of this prestigious institution.


Past and present inductees of Legends of the National Outdoors Hall of Fame gather for a photo at the Music City Sheraton on Aug.29,2008.

The Legends Hall of Fame was the goal of founder Garry Mason of West TN as a means of recognizing and honoring those individuals who have excelled far beyond the call of duty in the different areas of the outdoors and who have contributed to the future of hunting, fishing and the outdoor heritage. The 2008 Induction Banquet overwhelmingly followed in the spirit and tradition of bringing honor to the finest people in the outdoors. This years inductees were; exhibition shooter Tom Knapp, Bass Pro Shops/Redhead Team captain Jerry Martin, pro angler George Cochran, World Champion Turkey Caller Preston Pittman, legendary angler Jimmy Houston and his wife Chris Houston who is a professional lady tournament angler, Hunter’s Specialties Col. Jack Oliver and Mr. Crappie Wally Marshall.

The event was a an opportunity to renew old friendships and form new ones. Old friends and past inductees, John L. Morris founder of Bass Pro Shops and Brenda Valentine enjoyed catching up on recent hunting tales.

Past Legends members John L. Morris founder of Bass Pro Shops, Brenda Valentine First Lady of Hunting®, Hank Parker TV Host, and Shaw Grigsby professional bass fisherman, were guest speakers. A variety of entertainment venues were provided by Rick Revel, Lisa Snuggs, Dana Bowman, and country crooner Kevin Blake Weldon. A few other renown legends who share a passion for the outdoors like country stars John Anderson and Joe Stampley, and baseball great Ryan Klesko were there in support of the event.

There were several new awards categories with deserving recipients.  The Southeastern Outdoor Press Association and Kids Hunting for a Cure were recognized for their contributions to the outdoors.  The American Outdoor Sportsman and the Tennessee Outdoor Sportsman awards were given to Dr. John Waples and TWRA Director Gary Myers.  The Legacy Award which is to honor young men and women who have chosen to follow in their parent’s footsteps was presented to Hank Parker Jr and Billy Parker.  Crockett Mathis, 4th generation great grandson of namesake Davy Crockett accepted the Trail Blazer Award.

Jerry Martin, a 2008 inductee was introduced by Brenda Valentine.

This was truly an evening to remember that lasted into the wee hours of the morning. Something one might expect when nearly 400 outdoor sportsmen gathered in one room with lots of fishing lies and hunting stories to tell.

Kevin Blake Weldon picks a camo guitar, sings his own original songs, and is at home anywhere there is an audience....even on a stool in the glove dept. of Bass Pro Shops. This song just happened to be about a redneck-redhead woman hunter...

To top off what was already a stupendous event, the Nashville Bass Pro Shops manager Greg Cole and promotions director Julie Schuster invited everyone over to the Outdoor World on Sat. for an opportunity to hang out with the legends, get autographs and pictures. This proved to be an added bonus to the many attendees and as it gave everyone a chance to really get to know their favorite outdoor personality. Kevin Blake Weldon even brought his guitar and serenaded the folks in the traditional Nashville style.

Jerry Martin, Chris Houston & Jimmy Houston listen intently as they await their induction. Garry Mason,(blue shirt) founder of the Legends Hall of Fame and Shaw Grigsby, speaker focus on the program.

The Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame has exploded during the past 7 years thanks to Garry Mason a man with a vision, much like every one of those who are now a Legends member and had a vision of a good life in the outdoors.

Many conservations groups were well represented at the event such as the National Wild Turkey Federation among others. Pictured is Kirk Thomas the founder of the National Wheeling Sportsmen's and other organizatons for the disabled outdoor sportsmen and women.