LOWA Annual Conference–August 12-13, 2016, Shreveport, Louisiana

LOWA members headed north to Shreveport for the Annual Conference.

The Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Visitor’s Bureau in conjunction with the Shreveport-Bossier Sports Commission and the Holiday Inn Shreveport Downtown arranged for a conference filled with music history, bass fishing, a beautiful shooting range and a great banquet. Kelly Wells, Brandy Evans and Que’berlyne Hill did a great job planning the conference

The hotel staff was also very accommodating, fulfilling all of our requests and needs. Everyone at the hotel from the front desk staff, to the wait servers at breakfast, to the banquet staff was very professional, helpful, friendly and concerned that our conference was going well.

On Friday, a few members met at beautiful Caddo Lake to go bass fishing with several local fishing pros. Penny McCurdy, Noella McLaurin and Ronnie Cameron helped the members score several bass while fishing the picturesque Caddo Lake.

Meanwhile in southern Louisiana, the conference attendees were trying to maneuver through the torrential rains to make their way north.

The welcome reception was held at the Great Raft Brewery. The food was delicious and the conversation was lively. This is the first time many members have seen each other since last year, so catching up was the rule of the day.

Back at the hotel, we convened to the hospitality suite for more fun and conversation.

Everyone was up early on Saturday to eat breakfast and get ready for a very busy day.

For the members, it was a trip to the beautiful Los Paloma Sporting Range and Event Center for some clay pigeon shooting.

The ladies and Glynn Harris carpooled to the Shreveport Municipal Auditorium, home of the famous Louisiana Hayride. The Auditorium has a long and storied history and also lays claim to the first professional performance by none other than, Elvis Presley himself.  They even had a copy of his contract in the dressing room he used.  The tour was presented by Teresa Micheels, who did a great job.  The Auditorium is beautiful and is apparently haunted. The tour ended with a live performance by Elvis!

After the tour wrapped up, the ladies (and Glynn) travelled to the Los Paloma Shooting Range to meet up with the LOWA members for a quick lunch. The grounds were just beautiful—it certainly wasn’t your usual shooting range.

The members headed back to the hotel for a fascinating seminar presented by social media guru Rebecca Bingham.  After the seminar, the members attended the annual membership meeting.

Saturday night at the LOWA Annual Conference means Banquet and Awards time! The banquet was held in the Holiday Inn in main banquet hall.

After a warm welcome from LOWA president, Lyle Johnson, Kelly Wells of the Shreveport Bossier Sports Commission said a few words about what it means to Shreveport to have LOWA bring our conference to their fair city.  We then watched a short video highlighting what Shreveport has to offer.

After an invocation by Lyle Johnson, LOWA members and guests enjoyed a delicious dinner presented by Holiday Inn banquet staff.

The conference’s keynote speaker, Rebecca Bingham, told her story of the pearls she wears and offered advice to the youngsters about how some things that irritate you can one day become something precious.

We sincerely thank Rebecca for taking time to come address our members during the seminar as well as addressing our banquet for the keynote speech.

The first award of the evening was Fish of the Year (FOY). Due to the weather, we only had one of the three FOY winners present. Fish Records Committee Chairman, Lyle Johnson and committee members, Jerald Horst and Joe Macaluso, presented the Rod and Reel award to David Prevost of Schriever. Prevost’s 246.63 Tarpon caught in West Delta qualified for a new state record.

Next up was the presentation of the Youth Hunter Awards.  YHA Chairman, Dave Moreland, thanked the award sponsors and then presented the YHA Female award to Kamryn Hatton and the YHA Male award to Earl Darby, Jr.

The next awards were presented by Youth Angler Award chairman, Wendy Billiot. The YAA Female winner, Grace Crain of Houma, nabbed the award with a story about her bass fishing trip.  The YAA Male winner, James Sanders, won his award with a story about catfishing with his grandfather.

Next up was the presentation of the Youth Journalism awards. YJC Chairman, Joe Macaluso, presented the awards with the help of JYC Sponsor, Linda Callais, representing the Louisiana Chapter of Safari Club International. As always, there were a lot of proud parents and grandparents and the flashes going off as each child picked up their award sure must have made our YJC winners feel special.

For our final set of awards, Excellence in Craft Chairman, Vicki Holmes, took to the podium to introduce all the contest sponsors, Louisiana Sportsman Magazine, Louisiana Wildlife & Fisheries Foundation,  Charter Boat Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Louisiana Forestry Association, Association of Professional Biologists, and present the awards to the LOWA members. The EIC award recipients represent the “best of the best” in LOWA and earn the awards for their outstanding work as outdoor communicators.

The raffle topped off the night and was enjoyed by one and all!

As in years past, we had a gun to raffle (thanks to Remington). Pure Fishing donated so many prizes, we can’t mention them all! The prize tables were filled with great items donated by many generous supporters of LOWA. The Louisiana Fish Fry products are always a big hit!

Once the banquet was in the bag, the members retired to the hospitality suite for a final chance to catch up with old friends and to bid each other farewell.

In closing, we can’t say enough about the hospitality that was shown to LOWA by the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.  The staff at the Holiday Inn Shreveport Downtown did a great job welcoming our members and making them feel at home.

LOWA would also like to thank the Supporting Members and all others who contributed to LOWA to make our conference a huge success.

 

As always, several LOWA members lent a hand to help make the conference a great time for all. Special thanks to Goosie Guice, Joe Macaluso, Gary Krouse, Gerald Gaspard and Lyle Johnson for their usual assistance in making the conference a success.