I remember the first time I saw Steve Rinella on TV. I was sitting with my old man in his living room as a hunting show played on the TV in the background.
As I settled in on the couch, I remember being enamored by the storytelling ability the host had while immediately recognizing the stark contrasts this show had to other hunting shows on the air. While there certainly was some killing, it was artful, it was captivating and above all else, it was educational.
“He’s hunting squirrels?” I asked my father.
Having never hunted squirrels, or known anyone who had, my father could only offer up a half-cocked smile and an “I guess so” answer to my question.
I watched as he chased bushy tailed edibles and was instantly connected to fond memories of hunting and fishing with friends and both my father and grandfather. Five or six years down the road, Rinella’s Meateater has certainly played a role in my development as both a hunter and a human being.
The Meateater himself was in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday evening as part of the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership’s (TRCP) Capital Conservation Awards Dinner. The gala not only brings together policy-makers, outdoor industry leaders, and conservation groups, it also serves as a platform to award those who exhibit leadership and advocacy in the broad spectrum of conservation.
In addition to being an advocate for hunting in general, Steve goes further; recognizing that as hunters, our next successful hunt directly coincides with healthy wildlife populations, quality habitat, and accessible land. Having built out numerous platforms over the years, Steve has the ability not only to showcase his wildlife-specific knowledge and wild game recipes but also the issues that perhaps matter the most to hunters and anglers.
“Steven Rinella is not only an excellent ambassador for hunting and fishing, he’s dedicated to advancing conservation so that our sports can prosper long-term,” said Whit Fosburgh, TRCP’s president and CEO. “His influencer status makes Steve the ultimate sportsman’s role model, and his willingness to use that platform to bring clarity to complex policy issues and urge rank-and-file sportsmen to become informed advocates is incredibly meaningful to the American conservation movement.”
As such, Steve was awarded TRCP’s coveted 2017 Conservation Achievement Award in front of more than 400 attendees on Wednesday evening.
Here is his acceptance speech as was posted to his Facebook page:
In addition to awarding Steve, the TRCP also recognized both Republican Governor Matt Mead of Wyoming and Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado. The pair each received the 2017 James D. Range Conservation Award, presented to one Democrat and one Republican each year as a bipartisan celebration, in this case, of restoring sagebrush habitat as co-chairs of the Western Governors’ Association Sage Grouse Task Force.