Folks like to complain about EPSN having an East Coast bias. It’s a valid issue in my mind, having lived in the Midwest and West.
I’m beginning to wonder if Field & Stream might not have a similar bias.
The magazine just released the list of contenders for its 2009 Total Outdoorsman Challenge.
The list includes last year’s top three finishers – including defending champion and three-time challenge winner Paul Thompson – and 12 other sportsmen who finished in the top three positions in one of four regional qualifier events earlier this month. The field will be rounded out by a "wildcard" pick selected by editors from online entries.
Here is the list:
Tom Boatwright, Perdido, Ala.
William Bond, Fort Gibson, Okla.
Justin Brown, Memphis, Ind.
Thomas Cooprider, Pembroke Pines, Fla.
Brian Cramer, Bedford, Texas
James Crawford, Sumner, Texas
Randy Hendrix, Clemmons, N.C.
Scot Marcin, Cottontown, Tenn. (2008 second-place winner)
Jay Moore, Millbrook, N.Y.
Peter Mosby, Aurora, Colo. (2008 third-place winner)
Chris Reed, Thompson Station, Tenn.
John Sappington, Branson, Mo.
John Stanley, Bedias, Texas
Ryan Straley, Olathe, Kan.
Paul Thompson, Marion, N.C. (2008 defending champion and three-time Total Outdoorsman Challenge winner)
What struck me, and bugs me, is no one is from west of the Rocky Mountains is in the event. Only one competitor is from a Western state, but he is from the Denver area, on the east side of the Rockies.
I just find it hard to believe no one from our neck of the woods is qualified to compete in the seven skill challenges: flyfishing, bass fishing, rifle, shotgun, endurance, archery and ATV handling.
One issue may be the qualifying process. Interested outdoorsmen had to first take part in a qualified at one of 49 Bass Pro Shops nationwide. The closest store to Washington is actually in Rocky View, Alberta, Canada. The nearest location in the U.S. is Mateca, Calif., south of Stockton. From those folks, 200 were invited to regional events which were held in Grapevine, Texas; Nashville, Tenn.; Independence, Mo.; and Harrisburg, Pa.
That’s a lot of traveling for anyone from Washington interested in competing.