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Outdoor Industry Association

OIA and Adidas Outdoor seek to honor those who provide inspiration to get outdoors

The Outdoor Industry Association and Adidas Outdoor seeking nominations for the 2012 Inspiration Awards, honoring the unsung heroes in the industry who inspire people to get outdoor and be active. In it's second year, the awards will be presented at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2012.

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Sometimes people do something inspirational and others don’t notice. The Outdoor Industry Association and Adidas Outdoor established the Inspiration Awards to make sure that doesn’t happen among those in the outdoor industry who inspire people to get outdoors.

Debuting at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2011, the Inspiration Awards are set for an encore at the 2012 show, Jan. 19-22. The Outdoor Industry Association is seeking nominations for the event by Dec. 16, 2011. To find out how to nominate a person, company or organization, visit

“The idea behind the Inspiration Awards is really to find those unsung heroes that make it possible for people to get outside and experience outdoor activities,” said I Ling Thompson, vice president of communications for the association. “Our goal this year is to encourage more people from the industry to support the awards and nominate their peers and celebrate work these people are doing.”

Greg Thomsen, managing director for Adidas Outdoor, said the company wanted to do something to create an even bigger sense of community in the outdoor industry. It chose to give “a warm award and support to people who are inspirational – not just the biggest and not just the most successful – but people trying to bring inspiration to the outdoors.”

Approximately 500 people attended the awards ceremony in 2011 and famed mountaineer Reinhold Messner presented awards to the four winners – Mountain Mama, REI, First Descents and Martin Fox of the Center for Global Leadership.

Having Messner there, Thomsen said, was special. “You grew up your whole life reading about Messner and to actually see him and be able to talk to him and see what a great person he is made it more inspirational.” Adidas is working to bring back Messner to present the 2012 awards.

Thomsen said he expects a larger crowd this time around. The ceremony will take place at Winter Market in January, but a specific date and time have yet to be set.

“We hope that they just continue to become more prestigious and that people who win them are very proud and happy to have won and to display their awards,” Thomsen said. “It does acknowledge a lot of hard work, and sometimes lots of trials and tribulations. We would just like it to keep on going strong and that it gets stronger and stronger each year.”

Criteria for nominating a person, company or group includes describing the original inspiration and the implementation, creativity level, results and durability of the inspiration.

“What’s really important here is for the industry to recognize the hard work of these folks,” Thompson at the Outdoor Industry Association said, “to celebrate it and use it as a way to encourage others and remind us all it’s in our hands to bring more people into the outdoors and get them recreating and picking up activities we all hold dear to our hearts.”

–Ana Trujillo