Today, I turn over the keyboard at lakedarbonnelife.com to Peyton McKinnie, National Legends of the Outdoors Board of Directors member and Director of the Louisiana Chapter. I am honored to be part of the first group selected for this state honor. I hope this recognition will help motivate others, especially younger people, to be active leaders in promoting and protecting our wonderful Louisiana outdoor heritage. It’s worth the effort!
From Peyton McKinnie:
“When you read this today, I hope you will take time to comment at the end about any of these people and how they have had a positive influence on your enjoyment in the outdoors. I know it would mean a lot to them.
Now, for the rest of the story.
Eight prominent Louisiana outdoor personalities with outstanding legacies of contributions to the outdoors will be inducted into the first class of the Louisiana Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame in Monroe later this month. Three special recognition awards will also be given at the banquet.
The Hall of Fame inductees include Cedar Hills Game Calls founder and noted turkey hunter Jerry Antley of Downsville; Honey Hole founder and noted crappie fishing expert Bobby Phillips of Woodlawn; Paul Meeks of Tallulah, API Outdoors founder and developer of the climbing deer stand; Outdoor writer and conservationist Kinny Haddox of West Monroe; fisherman and youth outdoor educator and volunteer Dan DeWitt of Dry Prong; Tireless outdoor volunteer Ronda Johnson of Haughton; noted duck caller, hunter and operator of MegaDucks waterfowl, Johnny Wink of Jones; and pro crappie and bass tournament angler Steve Danna of Farmerville.
Three special awards will also be presented, including Sportsman of the Year to Cajun Navy member Allen Lenard of Sterlington; Legacy Award to Simmons’ Sporting Goods of Bastrop and Outdoor Artist of the Year to K&K Taxidermy of Ragley.
The recognition banquet will be held at the Barak Shrine Temple on Saturday, September 14, beginning at 11 a.m.
The banquet is open to the pubic and area sportsmen and women are urged to attend to honor the accomplishments of these individuals. Tickets are $50 and may be purchased by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling me, Peyton McKinnie, at 318-557-7173.
The Legends of the Outdoors was established in 2002 by Tennessee outdoorsman Garry Mason to provide national recognition to outdoor sportsmen and sportswomen who, through countless hours of hard work and devotion to the outdoors, in both hunting and fishing, have played an integral part in setting the standards and guidelines for the rest of the outdoor world to follow.
The Louisiana Chapter is the first to initiate a state program using the same guidelines.
Louisiana Legends of the Outdoors brief biographies:
Jerry Antley, Downsville: Member of the National Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame; Founder and owner of Cedar Hill Game Calls and Camo Cord, LLC; National Wild Turkey Federation volunteer since 1977; former Grand Champion Louisiana turkey calling champion; former Grand National Turkey Calling Championship judge; 2016 Union Parish Chamber of Commerce Businessman of the Year; and lifetime turkey hunter, including registering a Grand Slam harvest of all four U.S. Subspecies of wild turkeys (Eastern, Osceola, Rio Grande and Merriam’s).
Bobby Phillips, Woodlawn: The “Bill Dance” of Louisiana crappie fishing; Founder of the Honey Hole Tackle Shop and host of the first crappie tournament on Lake D’Arbonne; professional crappie angler; Founding volunteer of the Ronald McDonald bass tournament; and frequent TV and radio show guest and subject of numerous crappie articles.
Paul Meeks. Tallulah: Founder and developer of API Outdoors, which became the country’s largest producer of tree stands; invented one of the first climbing stands for deer; Inductee into National Legends Hall of Fame for 2020; Owner of Great Day, Inc., manufacturer of specialty accessories for all-terrain vehicles; and a regular speaker at hunters and wild game banquets and events.
Kinny Haddox. West Monroe: Publisher of lakedarbonnelife.com outdoor website; Writer and photographer with more than 450 magazine articles to his credit; former outdoor editor of the Monroe News-Star; Started the first high school bass tournament on Lake D’Arbonne in 1978; Master of Ceremonies for Crappie University; Developed the first local National Hunting & Fishing Day celebration in Louisiana with the Monroe LDWF; Uncovered plans to channelize the Ouachita River and worked with other reporters to turn public and political sentiment against the plan, stopping destruction of the river system; helped acquire early funding to develop Black Bayou National Wildlife Refuge facilities; and was a major force behind International Paper’s donation of Bussey and Wham brake outdoor areas to the state of Louisiana, preserving public access for future generations.
Dan DeWitt, Dry Prong: Professional Outfitter and guide for more than 35 years, leading hunters on trips across the globe for deer, turkey, elk, hogs and exotic game; Featured on numerous outdoor hunting shows; Has hosted over 150 youth, women and adults on their first successful hunt; Former director for 17 years of a youth outdoor summer camp; One of few hunters to kill a double grand slam in a single season; and founded Preachers Need Friends Too ministry, an organization to carry preachers hunting to help give them rest and relaxation away from their ministries.
Ronda Johnson, Haughton: Serves as the NWTF Dorcheat Bayou Gobblers chapter president and the Louisiana NWTF State Board as Treasurer; She has been volunteering with The Women in the Outdoors Outreach Program, Wheeln Sportsman and Disabled Veterans hunts for 17 years, currently serving as North Louisiana Wheeln Sportsman Coordinator, and Board Member for Barksdale Warrior Hunts; Serves as a member of the Mossy Oaks Pro Staff; Through the SisterHood of the Outdoors for Louisiana, she has managed and help make hunts possible for hundreds of women, Wheelln Sportsman, youth, and Disable veterans all over Louisiana.
Johnny Wink, Jones: Owner of MegaDucks waterfowl hunting lodge, he has been a duck and goose guide for 45 years; Worked as one of Duck Commanders first employees and hosted several Duck Man series for Duck Commander’s CD series; Winner of numerous duck & goose calling contests and has put on dozens of water fowling clinics; Hosts events for youth and women and has given duck and goose calling lessons across the country; A Guardian Elite team member of Drake Waterfowl; and Former editor of the Louisiana Road Trips magazine, author of two books and subject for a book and movie about the outdoors.
Steve Danna, Farmerville: Has been fishing and guiding for bass and crappie for nearly 50 years; Took part on the groundbreaking level of bass club and tournament fishing in north Louisiana; fishes on the American Crappie Trail and Crappie Masters pro tours; Puts on crappie fishing seminars for Bass Pro Shops and other organizations and has served as an instructor for Crappie University; Serves as an ambassador for fishing, including appearing in a national TV commercial for Bobby Garland Lures in 2018; Played a leading role in designing a crappie fishing boat for War Eagle and has designed his own crappie rod, the “Tree Thumper”, which is manufactured by B’n’M Pole company.