There’s only one way to make the Outdoors Hall of Fame. You Earn it.
On Saturday, August 20, the Illinois Conservation Foundation will welcome three new members to the Outdoors Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place at the Illinois State Fair in Springfield, Il at 11:00 a.m. The guests of honor to be inducted will be Jim Grandt, Jim Scheer and Les Winkeler. Dozens of nominees were selected for 2016, but only three were chosen.
The first recipient of the honor, Jim Grandt, has become an icon to not just the state of Illinois in the outdoors industry, but also to conservation groups around the United States. As president of Grandt Industries, an Illinois-based outdoors equipment manufacturing, engineering and marketing firm for 34 years, he knows a thing or two about the Great Outdoors. Perhaps above all, his line of custom rods may be what has garnered him the most attention.
On top of all this, Grandt is also heavily involved in multiple outdoor conservation causes. For example, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Trout Unlimited, Salmon Unlimited, the Illinois Conservation Foundation, and Safari Club International just to name a few. He also pays special attention to the organizations that focus on getting kids into the outdoors.
As a former chairman of Ducks Unlimited in Illinois, and board member of Delta Waterfowl, Scheer has done a lot of good for waterfowl in the state. He is credited with drafting the legislation that created the Illinois’ Duck Stamp in the 1970’s that directly supported waterfowl efforts. As if that’s not enough, he was also the director for the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum. It’s easy to see how he Scheer earned his well deserved spot on the list.
Winkler has won numerous awards from the Illinois Press Association and the Associated Press for outdoors writing in the Southern Illinoisan newspaper. He also became the publications sports editor 10 years ago. Winkler has also been a member of the Southern Illinois Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Days Committee for many years. These accomplishments alone warrant induction into the hall of fame, however, this isn’t the first hall of fame Winkler will find his name. He’s already a member of the Sesser-Valier Outdoorsman Club Hall of Fame, as well.
As you just read above, it’s easy to see why these three outstanding sportsmen will receive this once-in-lifetime honor. Not everyone gets into the Illinois Outdoors Hall of Fame. A lot people may qualify, however the selection from peers in the industry is what puts them over the top.
One trait all three hall of famers share is their desire to get kids involved in the outdoors. As these three know, the future of the industry rests on our children’s shoulders. With the efforts of Grandt, Scheer, and Winkler, the state of Illinois will be left in good hands.