Association Of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers Awards Highest Honors

Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers
Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers

NEW BUFFALO, MICH – The Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) awarded its highest honors to five recipients at their recent annual conference in Branson, Missouri.

Golden Glow awards were presented in the Individual, Public Servant, Organization, Company/Corporation and Excellence-In-Craft categories during the Chevy Trucks Golden Glow Banquet at Chateau on the Lake to Curt Hicken, Illinois Fisheries Biologist Ken Russell, Clam Outdoors, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) and Bobby Whitehead, respectively.

Hicken Receives Golden Glow Individual Award
For nearly three decades, outdoor writer and broadcaster Curt Hicken has played an integral, innovative and active role in the outdoor communication world.

Beginning in the late 1980s, he began writing a weekly outdoor column for several Illinois newspapers and airing an outdoors program on WSMI, now one of the longest running outdoor radio shows in Illinois.

By the early 1990s, Curt’s work expanded with writings regularly appearing in nearly every regional outdoor magazine in the Midwest. It was a rare month, indeed, if you could pick up any one of these publications and not find his byline.

During this time he was also named as the outdoor writer for The Telegraph (Alton, Illinois), providing it with two outdoor pages per week, for more than 15 years. Tough times have reduced the effort to one page per week, but the job has been expanded to include the- another Freedom Newspaper Publication. His byline can also be found in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier and such fine regional outdoor magazines as Outdoor Guide and Heartland Outdoors, in addition to having appeared in every Illinois Game and Fish since 1989.

In 2000, Curt set aside only some of his writing assignments to come to the assistance of AGLOW, and served it well and admirably for more than nine years. Under his steady and easy hand, the organization thrived and reached new heights, moving from antiquated ways into the modern media world. Thanks to his efforts, it is now highly esteemed and one of the finest groups of its kind in the nation.

Many awards and much recognition for his work followed, and his name is now widely recognized throughout the outdoor industry. He is still writing, broadcasting and serving others at a fast pace. Among many endeavors, he has served many youth outdoors education programs, and, of course, he continues to hunt, fish, write, photograph and broadcast on a faster-than-ever scale and spending quality time with wife Jeanie in their home at Gillespie, Illinois.

Illinois Fisheries Biologist Ken Russell Receives Public Servant Golden Glow Award
After graduating college in Missouri, Ken Russell joined the Illinois Department of Natural Resources (then Dept. of Conservation) on November 1 1962 as a District Fisheries Biologist.

Ken quickly achieved a reputation as a superior fish management biologist, particularly in the areas of small impoundments and strip mine lakes. He participated in the original AFS multi-state small pond management study, and has written and taught small impoundment techniques throughout his career.

Ken recently re-wrote Management of Small Lakes and Ponds in Illinois. Ken has had a long and very productive relationship with Western Illinois University, and has mentored numerous graduate students on small impoundment research projects, and species-specific (he’s also a panfish expert) management research. He has been involved in over 1,000 educational workshops for the public and has been involved in or the subject of countless popular articles. Each year Ken speaks to thousands of kids at Envirothons, Conservation Days, fishing expos, fishing derbies, scouting events, school assemblies and individual classes.

What is striking about this is the intensity Ken brings to his educational work. Many have watched Ken drop to his knees to get at “kid level” and teach. After 49+ years on the job, the ecological fire in his gut still bums very brightly, and he is determined to make the most out of every educational opportunity. Ken could have retired with full benefits many years ago, but still gives 110 % to the resources and people he serves.

Ken has been honored with awards from countless Sportsmen’s groups, county conservation offices, newspapers, and professional societies. One example of awards is the prestigious Spirit of the Shack Award from the Midwest Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. This award is given to the person who best personifies the conservation ethic of Aldo Leopold. Another example is the Stephen A. Forbes Excellence in Fisheries Science Award that Ken received from the Illinois Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.

He has made an indelible mark on Illinois with his management activities. He has made another lasting mark with the thousands of people he has presented conservation principles and ethics to, and still another mark has been made with all of the young professionals that Ken has mentored and who are working today.

National Shooting Sports Foundation Receives Organization Golden Glow Award
Following a series of industry meetings in the late 1950s sponsored by Field & Stream magazine, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) was chartered in 1961 to promote a better understanding of and a greater participation in hunting and the shooting sports.

Recognizing the growing urbanization of America, NSSF’s first efforts sought to build public awareness of the sportsman’s role in conservation, and the contributions of our system of wildlife management through landmark efforts such as the annual National Hunting and Fishing Day, established in 1973.

Over the years, the foundation has continued its public outreach efforts while also developing a wide array of programs to encourage new and added participation in hunting and the target shooting sports. In the early 1980s, NSSF was in the forefront of promoting the then new sport of sporting clays and generating widespread publicity for shooting games of all kinds.

Kicked-off in 1988, “Sportsman’s Team Challenge,” for example, was the first made-for-TV shooting competition appearing on ESPN through the 1990s.

Over the past several decades, NSSF has greatly expanded its efforts to strengthen our hunting and shooting sports traditions through nationally based efforts such as STEP OUTSIDE, our Families Afield initiative, FIRST SHOTS and Hunting Heritage Partnership which provides grants to our state wildlife agencies for programs that improve access and opportunity.

Since its inception, NSSF has been a leader in building opportunities for the next generation to enjoy hunting and the shooting sports. NSSF has long been a major supporter of the nation’s youth shooting programs as well as creating its own programs such as the Scholastic Clay Target Program and similar efforts at the collegiate level.

Firearms safety education has also been a fundamental mission of NSSF throughout its history. Over the decades, the foundation has distributed many millions of safety brochures, and delivered our safety messages on television, radio and in print. Initiated in 1999, NSSF’s Project ChildSafe has now distributed more than 35 million firearm safety kits in all 50 states.

In its modern era, the NSSF has become actively engaged in representing our members in respect to key legal, regulatory and legislative issues through its Government Relations division. Since 1979, critical funding for NSSF’s many programs and activities has come from the NSSF owned industry trade show, the SHOT SHOW. From an inaugural event of 50,000 square feet of exhibit space, the show has grown to some 630,000 square feet of exhibit space today and is the largest trade exposition of its kind in the world.

Since its founding in 1961, the foundation has sought to represent the broad scope of the hunting and shooting sports industry. Members include manufacturers of sporting firearms and ammunition, a wide array of accessory and equipment manufacturers as well as distributors, retailers, shooting ranges and many other companies and organizations in the hunting and shooting sports community. Today, membership includes more than 7,000 companies and organizations.

NSSF’s Director of Communications, Bill Brassard, accepted the award on behalf of the organization.

Clam Outdoors Receives Company/Corporation Golden Glow Award
The ice fishing industry has grown by leaps and bounds over the last few decades and Minneapolis-based Clam Outdoors has been one of the most integral parts of the sport from the beginning of modern ice fishing to today. Their ongoing dedication to being the leader in new technology and gear has carried them to the forefront of the sport.

Clam Corporation, now known as Clam Outdoors, actually started as two separate entities that were molded into one because of the vision of two ice fishing pioneers. Dave Genz built the first Fish Trap in his garage in 1980. His wife, Patsy, sewed the canvas pieces together on her home sewing machine.

A total of five were assembled. Over the next five years, production increased from five to eighty, and eventually to a few hundred. Eventually, Patsy was relieved of her sewing duties and the ice shelters were professionally sewn. Genz’s original model is now the standard in the industry for all flip-over ice shelters and CLAMCORP still proudly sells the re-designed and updated original favorite. In the late ’80’s Dennis Clark, operating as Frontier Enterprises began marketing the popular Clam ice fishing shelter that – like the Fish Trap – allowed anglers to shed their stationary shelters for the portability of a mobile shelter. Frontier Enterprises, because of their rapid growth became part of the USL Corporation.

In 1993 with the rapid growth of the ice fishing industry, USL – with their brands of Clam & Fish Trap – was recognized by the trade as the largest manufacturer of ice shelters in North America.

In 2003 Clam Corporation was formed when Dave Osborne purchases it from USL Products. Now a privately held company, Clam focuses its efforts on becoming the leading innovator of products for the ice fishing industry. Ice Armor, a new line of clothing, is introduced soon after Osborne takes over. This cold weather outerwear is built specifically for the demands of ice fishing. The product line was launched with the “Blue Suit”, which becomes hugely popular and a benchmark for all outerwear to follow.

In 2005 CLAMCORP trademarks their distinctive color of blue on Fish Trap and The Clam, making the color exclusive to their ice shelters. In 2006 the Fish Trap X-series of ice shelters debuts as “the best portable ice fishing shelters ever built”.

Shortly thereafter the CLAMCORP engineers use Thermal Trap insulation in creating Fish Trap Thermal X icefishing shelters. The Thermal X Fish Trap is tested and shown to be 28 degrees warmer than comparably sized and heated shelters lacking this new insulation. Thermal Trap is engineered into other products, too, such as Ice Armor X Gloves and Mitts and the improved Extreme Weather suit.

Never resting on their position in the ice fishing market CLAMCORP introduced 13 new models of shelters for the 2009 – 2010 ice fishing season as well as a wide array of accessories for ice fishing. The new accessory line-up includes the Dave Genz line-up of ice fishing combos, ice fishing line and a new jig box to keep your tackle neatly organized. The IceArmor brand continues its expansion with the introduction of several new outerwear items including a Red/Gray Xtreme suit in women’s and youth sizing, insulated and un-insulated bibs as well as new headwear and boots.

In 2011 Dave Genz was inducted into the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame as a Legendary Angler, a testament to his leadership in the movement that modernized ice fishing. His passion and innovation for the sport of ice fishing with the support of other visionaries such as Dennis Clark and Dave Osborne are reason enough to award CLAMCORP the Golden Glow Company or Corporation Award. Clam Outdoors’ Director of Marketing, Nick Chiodo, accepted the award along with Dave Genz, Jason Mitchell and Jeff Anderson.

Missouri Publisher and Editor Bobby Whitehead Receives Golden Glow for Excellence-In-Craft
It takes a lot of words to properly span the journalistic career and list the many accomplishments of Bob (Bobby) Whitehead. Among all the editors of outdoor recreational publications in the nation, his name and efforts stand out with an “excellent” rating.

As editor and publisher of Outdoor Guide Magazine, he probably works with more writers and photographers that any of his peers. Add quickly, too, that they respect his knowledge of the field, and admire the progress he has made with that prestigious publication.

Name an outdoor media organization and it’s a good bet that he is not only a member, but has served it wisely and admirably in many capacities. He was elected to membership in AGLOW in 1992, and served three years on its board before becoming vice president, then president in 2010. He is a charter member of the Missouri Outdoor Communicators (MOC), and has served it in many capacities, including two terms as president. In addition he is a member of the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA), Outdoor Writers Association of America (OWAA), Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA) and Midwest Travel Writers Association (MTWA). Born in St. Louis, MO, where he works, Whitehead has accomplished more in his 59 years than most journalists can claim in a lifetime. A graduate of the fine University of Missouri School of Journalism, he has spent more than 35 years in the media field. First, he worked for Missouri Life Magazine, then the St. Louis Globe Democrat. He has been outdoors editor of the St. Louis /Southern Illinois Labor Tribune, the largest labor publication in the nation, for 25 years.

Twenty years ago, he signed on as editor of Outdoor Guide, a job in which he has grown greatly and uses with insight, advice and even paychecks to enhance the writing and photography lives and skills of dozens of fledging, and even veteran, journalists. With ever-growing circulation and appeal, Outdoor Guide has become an icon among outdoor publications serving more than a dozen Mid-Country states and thousands of subscribers and readers with timely material on hunting, fishing, camping, conservation, boating and outdoor travel. When not traveling the country to collect copy and photos for his columns and articles, or spending quality time with friends in the great outdoors, he shares a home with lovely wife, Deborah, in Chesterfield, MO, a St. Louis suburb.

Two of this year’s Golden Glow honorees are active, AGLOW media members – a unique occurrence. In recognition of this, Mark and Brian Smith of Indiana-based Raghorn, Incorporated, publishers of Indiana Outdoor News magazine and producers of Wild Adventures and Angling the Great Lakes Television, honored Hicken and Whitehead with two $500 contributions to AGLOW’s scholarship fund in their names.

AGLOW is one of the nation’s largest and most active professional outdoor communicators’ organizations. Each year, as merited, AGLOW’s Council of Past Presidents nominates and presents up to five deserving individuals or corporations with their highest honor, the Golden Glow Award. In receiving their awards, Hicken, Russell, Clam Outdoors, NSSF and Whitehead join a list of past honorees including Aldo Leopold, Bruce Babbitt, John Dingell, Mike Huckabee, Ducks Unlimited and Boy Scouts of America. For more information, visit