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Outdoor Writers Association of America Announces Excellence in Craft Contest Winners

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Jay Peak, Vermont – (Oct. 7, 2021) Through its annual Excellence in Craft Contest, the Outdoor Writers Association of America honored 60 professional journalists for their prize-winning work in dozens of media outlets.

The winners were announced on the evening of October 5th during OWAA’s annual conference at Jay Peak Resort in Vermont. More than $9,000 in total prize money will be distributed to the winners. 


The EIC Contest rewards the best-of-the-best in 10 media formats: Blog, Book, Column, Illustration/Graphic, Magazine, Newspaper, Photography, Photo Essay, Radio/Podcast, and TV/Video/Webcast. 

Some are stand-alone contests while others include topics such as fishing, hunting or shooting sports, conservation or nature, outdoor fun and adventure, family participation or youth outdoor education, and humor. The Photography Contest also includes categories for Action, Fauna, Flora, People and Scenic.

Although the 129 awards for first, second and third place were spread around to dozens of OWAA members, several won multiple awards. Bill Sherck of Minnesota, host of the television show ‘Due North Outdoors,’ was the biggest winner with eight awards, including:

  • 1st TV/Family Participation “Great River Adventure”
  • 1st TV/Outdoor Fun “Flying W Eagles!”
  • 2nd TV/Fishing “S&S Sisters”
  • 2nd TV/Gear-Technical “S&S Sisters”
  • 2nd TV/Hunting-Shooting Sports “The Duck Pontoon!”
  • 2nd TV/Outdoor Fun “Tour By Cable!”
  • 3rd TV/Conservation-Nature “BWCA at Risk”
  • 3rd TV/Gear-Technical “Supernatural Bigs!”

Wisconsin’s Dan Small, host of ‘Outdoor Wisconsin‘ and ‘Outdoors Radio,’ took home six awards. 

  • 1st Newspaper/Hunting-Shooting Sports “Calling the Shot”
  • 2nd Radio/Family Participation “Token Creek”
  • 2nd TV/Family Participation “MOHEE 2019”
  • 2nd Radio/Fishing “Rusty’s Big Pike Adventure”
  • 3rd Radio/Gear-Technical “Sneaky Hunter Boot Lamps”
  • 3rd Newspaper/Fishing “Two Old Friends, Two Great Green Bay Muskies”

Also taking home six awards was Oregon author and writer Pat Wray

  • 1st Newspaper/Humor “Living the Trailer Life”
  • 2nd Column  [Various Titles]
  • 2nd Newspaper/Hunting-Shooting Sports “Bear Hunt by the Numbers”
  • 3rd Newspaper/Conservation-Nature “Public Lands Hate You”
  • 3rd Newspaper/Gear-Technical “Enjoying a New Machine”
  • 3rd Newspaper/Humor “It’s A Question of Balance”

OWAA very sincerely thanks Henry Repeating Arms for their sponsorship of the Hunting/Shooting Sports Category, to Friesens for their support of the Book Category, Rails to Trails Conservancy for supporting the Radio/Podcast category, Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation for their sponsorship of the Family Participation/Youth Outdoor Education Category, and The PEW Charitable Trusts for their support of the Conservation/Nature category. The support of brands like these is critical to help keep this program running year after year and provides additional prizing for category winners.


In addition to the EIC Contest, OWAA honored the following members for their long-time support of OWAA and their career accomplishments: 

  • Jade Award Mark Freeman. Nominated, voted on and presented by past award winners.
  • Excellence in CraftTom Stienstra. For outstanding effort in upholding the OWAA creed and continued excellence in craft.
  • Ham BrownBill Brassard. OWAA’s most prestigious recognition of a member for devoted past service to the organization over a period of continuous years.
  • Outstanding Board Members Christine Peterson, Colleen Miniuk and Matt Miller. Voted on and presented by OWAA’s board of directors. 
  • Committee Volunteer of the YearDavid van Wie. Recognizes excellence, commitment and service and going beyond the call of duty while serving on an OWAA committee.

About OWAA

Recognized as “The Voice of the Outdoors,” OWAA is the nation’s largest organization of professional outdoor journalists. Its membership includes writers, photographers, videographers, radio and TV personalities, digital storytellers and artists. Formed in 1927, the nonprofit association’s mission is to improve the professional skills and opportunities of its members, set the highest ethical and communications standards, encourage public enjoyment and conservation of natural resources, and mentor the next generation of professional outdoor communicators.