It was a big night for Union Parish at the Legends of the Outdoors National Hall of Fame meeting Saturday in Springfield, Missouri at the John A & Genny Morris Conservation Center. The name Johnny Morris might sound familiar. He’s the founder of Bass Pro Shops.
The highlight for our area from this year’s event was the induction of Paul Meeks of Tallulah into the Hall of Fame. He was accompanied by National Hall of Fame Board member Peyton McKinnie of Marion, who is once again on the road doing a fantastic job promoting Union Parish, making contacts and bringing attention and tourism to Lake D’Arbonne Country. Meeks is the founder of API, which is the first producer of climbing deer stands in the country. He is also a graduate of Linville High School.
It’s quite a big stage for this area to be spotlighted on and didn’t come without a lot of effort, creativity and time spent letting others know about the resources of this area. Our hat is off to Meeks for achieving this honor and Peyton and Tiger Bend Outdoors for helping make it happen. Congratulations!
The 2021 “Legends of the Outdoors” Inductees are as follows: Chad Hoover, host of television show Kayak Bassin’ with Chad Hoover, owner of Kayak Bass Fishing and is known all across America as the “kayak guru”; Paul Meeks, creator of API tree stands; Gus Congemi, avid bow hunter and owner/host of Live the Wild Life TV; Curtis Fleming, creator, host and executive producer of Fly Rod Chronicles; Chris Dorsey, the founding partner and Executive Producer of Dorsey Pictures (formerly Orion Entertainment), the world’s largest independent producer of outdoor and conservation television programming; Keith “Catfish” Sutton, has served in various editorial positions with Outdoor Life, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, the Outdoor Channel, Cabela’s Outfitter Journal, Sports Afield, ESPN Outdoors, and others; and Jack Wells, owner of B ’n M Poles.
Paul was also a member of the initial list of inductees into the Louisiana Chapter of the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame. He founded API Outdoors, Inc in 1986. Introduced the first climbing tree stands and the first all-aluminum line of tree stands. He sold the line to Bass Pro and in 2003, started Great Day, Inc. and was awarded several patents related to all-terrain vehicle accessories. An avid hunter, he has harvested basically every species of game animal in North America.
I was also honored to be part of the Louisiana Hall of Fame with Paul. I am humbled to be the first outdoor writer to be honored in such a way by the state group. It’s on my bucket list to get to go to the National Hall of Fame gathering one of these days and enjoy the festivities and meet these legendary outdoor folks. If you check the Legends Hall of Fame out online, you’ll see quite an impressive list of outdoor legends that Paul is joining. Unfortunately Last year’s state and national events were postponed due to Covid.
Peyton already has plans in the works for this year’s class and Louisiana Chapter Hall of Fame. More will be forthcoming on that in a few weeks. You can find out more about the first class in this former lakedarbonnelife writeup online: