Contributed by Arkansas Press Association
LITTLE ROCK, Ark., (July 10, 2019) – The Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation today announced legendary Arkansas journalist Rex Nelson will serve as Master of Ceremonies for the 2019 Arkansas
Outdoor Hall of Fame this August in Little Rock.
“The Arkansas outdoors are special to me,” Nelson said. “I grew up hunting and fishing in this state with a father who was an avid outdoorsman. Outside of its friendly, hard-working people, Arkansas’ greatest assets are its natural beauty and outdoor recreation opportunities.”
Nelson will preside over the induction of four new members to the Hall, including plant naturalist MaryAnn King of London; Big Buck Classic founders Tommy III & Catherine Murchison of Cabot; boat manufacturer Woody Futrell of Nashville and duck habitat innovators the McCollum family of Stuttgart.
“This year’s inductees represent the best of Arkansas,” Nelson said. “These are people who understand our state, its history and its culture. They’ve done their part to ensure future generations share in that understanding.”
Nelson is one of Arkansas’s most high-profile writers and preeminent speakers. As senior editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, he writes three columns a week and essays for the cover of the newspaper’s “Sunday Perspective” section. He’s the author of three books including the first full-length biography of Hillary Rodham Clinton, a biography of Arkansas educator Ben Elrod and a collection of his essays on Arkansas. He’s also the author of a popular blog, Rex Nelson’s Southern Fried and makes regular television and radio appearances.
Among his many accolades are membership in the Arkansas Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame and Rural Advocate of the Year for the state of Arkansas, presented in 2016 by Governor Asa Hutchinson and the Arkansas Rural Development Commission.
Nelson also served for almost a decade as the policy and communications director for Governor Mike Huckabee and then served for four years in the administration of President George W. Bush as one of two appointees to the Delta Regional Authority. He said the work of the AGFF, Arkansas Game and Fish Commission and other organizations have played an integral part in preserving Arkansas’s wild spaces.
“My fondest memories are of quail hunting as a boy in Clark and Dallas counties,” Nelson said. “I salute the commission for its efforts to bring back the bobwhite, which I view as one of the top priorities for at least the next decade. The commission and foundation are ensuring that younger Arkansans will
continue to enjoy the outdoor benefits that I enjoyed as a boy growing up in this state.”
“They also realize that it’s not just about hunting and fishing anymore. The foundation and commission are providing opportunities for those who hike, for birdwatchers, etc. I hate to think what Arkansas would look like without the tens of thousands of acres protected by our wildlife management areas.”
“We’re delighted to have a Master of Ceremonies of Rex Nelson’s caliber,” said Deke Whitbeck, president of the Arkansas Game and Fish Foundation. “He epitomizes the term ‘native son’ and a favored one at that. Attendees at the event are in for a real treat, benefiting from Rex’s incomparable
knowledge of our state and its spaces.”
The 28th Arkansas Outdoor Hall of Fame Banquet is slated for Saturday, August 24, 2019 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock. Tickets for the event are $125 and tables of ten are available for $1,250 each. The night will include dinner, live and silent auctions and induction ceremony. The event is set to begin at 6pm.
Proceeds from the event support the year-around work of the Foundation, which helps introduce hundreds to the joy of the outdoors every year. AGFF’s mission supports Arkansas Game and Fish Commission (AGFC) initiatives, particularly those aimed at getting young people unplugged and engaged in Arkansas’s outdoors.
Established in 1982, the Foundation is an independently operated 501c3 non-profit organization that serves as the fundraising adjunct to the AGFC. Its membership includes men and women who are passionate about promoting hunting, fishing and conservation education among the youth of Arkansas.