A down-turned economy and skyrocketing travel costs didn’t deter traditional outdoor sports journalists and industry professionals from attending the 3rd Annual POMA Business Conferen

A down-turned economy and skyrocketing travel costs didn’t deter traditional outdoor sports journalists and industry professionals from attending the 3rd Annual POMA Business Conference at Sioux Falls, S.D. Close to 200 people made the journey and reaped tremendous benefit for their businesses.

“Attendance at this year’s event proves that POMA’s Business Conference is more valuable now than ever before,” explained POMA Board Chairman Judd Cooney.

“Today, industry professionals must make sure that every dollar spent provides the best possible bang for the buck. “With 65-plus journalists, 90 industry representatives, a dozen college students, 15 dynamic speakers and educators, and 30 guests gathered and focused on business, the POMA conference is arguably one of the best values available.” 

Business sessions were highlighted by renowned experts in journalism, new-wave communications, photography, public relations, selling traditional outdoor sports content to non-endemic markets, utilizing interns and apprentices, the editorial opinion tightrope, 1st and 2nd Amendments and more.

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POMA Outdoor Speakers Bureau
and Stock Photo Gallery

During conference, POMA launched two services at conference that reach well beyond the organization’s membership rolls. The unveiling of the POMA Outdoor Speakers Bureau (POSB) website and the revamped POMA Stock Photo Gallery generated a buzz in the industry. 

“POMA’s Outdoor Speakers Bureau allows event planners to reach the most knowledgeable and entertaining speakers in the outdoor industry,” said Laurie Lee Dovey, POMA’s executive director.

“POSB speakers cover a wide range of subjects, which obviously include hunting and fishing, but also journalism, photography, public relations and other business-related subjects.” Parties interested in becoming POSB speakers or who would like to find a speaker for an upcoming event may do so at www.outdoorspeakersbureau.com.

The updated Stock Photo Gallery, which at present is available only to POMA members, offers a wide range of capabilities that the previous individual member photo galleries did not. Photo buyers may use detailed searches or a subject category listing to find images that fulfill their needs. The current database of 3,000 images, which are the result of a two-year pilot program, will be augmented continuously in the coming weeks, months and years. Submissions are now being accepted from all POMA members.

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Focus on Fishing Day

The Outdoor Campus in Sioux Falls was the site of POMA’s first Focus on Fishing (FOF) Day. FOF is part of an overall outreach program that POMA has initiated to reach out to and enhance participation by the fishing side of the traditional outdoor sports industry.

“The pilot event was a huge success,” reported Mike Faw, POMA treasurer. “Lots of members and manufactures got together, mixed it up and caught a lot of fish. This was the perfect event to showcase fishing gear, gather story material and network with movers and shakers in the industry.” 

U.S. Fly Fishing Team member, Keli Van Cleave conducted a demonstration for attendees. Representatives from the South Dakota Game, Fish and Parks and Sportsman’s Warehouse also presented on boating safety and fishing in South Dakota. Charles Hawkins, a Montana State University student and intern with Simms Products, won the big fish competition. 

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Field Day

Under the big-top tent and on the range at the Garretson Sportsmen’s Club, POMA members networked, tested equipment, learned about new products and technologies and developed content for magazines, broadcasts, websites and more. Attendance was over the top at 200-plus folks.






POMA Pinnacle Awards Inaugural Honorees 

Another highlight of the conference was the announcement of POMA’s inaugural Pinnacle Awards honorees. Tack Robinson, the director of media relations of Mossy Oak, made the presentation. Mossy Oak is the title partner of the POMA Pinnacle Awards.   The Pinnacle Awards annually honor POMA communicators for exceptional journalistic achievement in traditional outdoor sports-focused writing, photography/illustration and broadcasting.

The 2008 honorees are:

  • POMA Pinnacle Award for Magazine Article — Tes Jolly, Tuskegee, Ala., for “Loverboy Lives” published in Turkey and Turkey Hunting magazine.
  • POMA Pinnacle Award for Newspaper Article — Harry Guyer, Loysburg, Penna., for “Granny and the Grouse” published in published in the Bedford (Penna.) Gazette.
  • POMA Pinnacle Award for Broadcast — Steve Scott, Norman, Okla., for “The Mountains of Namibia” from Safari Hunters Journal aired on the Versus Network.
  • POMA Pinnacle Award for Photography/Illustration/Artwork — Tim Flannigan, Bedford, Penna., for “Grouse Portrait” published in The Sportsman Magazine (The Sportsman Channel).
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POMA Conference Partners

POMA’s executives and board also praised the generosity of the event’s partners, whose liberal support allows POMA to bring in top-notch educational speakers and offer social and networking opportunities in an environment focused on education and business building. 

The partners were: Alpen Optics, Archery Trade Association, Brownells, Coleman, DPMS/Panther Arms Federal Premium, Hunt Comfort, Garretson Sportsmen’s Club, Liberty Press, Mossy Oak, MyOutdoorTV, National Shooting Sports Foundation, National Rifle Association, National Wild Turkey Federation, Otis Technology, Realtree, SHE Safari, Sioux Falls Convention and Visitors Bureau, South Dakota Tourism, The Sportsman Channel, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance and XON-TV. 

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Auctions Help Secure the Future

The generosity of a wide range of POMA members and friends, who donated fishing trips, business equipment, safaris and other hunts, advertising packages and much more helped to fill the POMA coffers and ensure POMA’s financial stability. The conference auctions and raffles generated over $31,000 for the organization. “These are our biggest fundraisers of the year,” explained POMA Treasurer Michael D. Faw. “We can’t thank the contributors enough for their kindness and dedication to POMA.”


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Emerald Cornerstone Award Presented and Renamed

Betty Lou Fegely of Walnutport, Penna. received the Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) Emerald Cornerstone Award for extraordinary volunteer service. In addition, the prestigious award was renamed the Betty Lou Fegely Emerald Cornerstone Award. Read more.

Fegely was honored during an emotional presentation by POMA Chairman Judd Cooney during POMA’s Third Annual Business Conference earlier this month. Fegely is a founding board member of POMA and served as the organization’s first chairman and president.

“Without Betty Lou Fegely, POMA would not exist,” Cooney said with tears in his eyes. He added that the board of directors voted unanimously to change the name of the award to the Betty Lou Fegely Emerald Cornerstone Award.

“This is a tremendous honor,” Fegely said. “However, building this organization took the work of many and our industry should be proud and thankful for the thousands of hours of volunteer work that brought POMA into being and has ensured her strength. Today, the outdoor industry has a professional organization focused wholly on the traditional outdoor sports, the journalists who tell the story and the Corporate Partners who keep the industry going.”

The Betty Lou Fegely Emerald Cornerstone Award is not presented on a regular basis. It’s presented only to members who harbor a passion and dedication to the organization that result in selfless service to POMA that is truly extraordinary. 

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Where’s Larry? At the POMA Conference

Media members who attended the 2008 SHOT Show are probably familiar with Brownells’ popular “Where’s Larry” press relations campaign. Media members who found Larry at the show were presented with a $25 casino chip and a Brownells’ press kit. A full-size cut out of Larry was also strategically positioned in the SHOT press room. Unfortunately for Larry, SHOT clean up crews put Larry in the trash. Fortunately for Larry, good-hearted Vickie Gardner of Alpen Optics rescued Larry and took him back to California with her. She also brought Larry to the Conference where he participated in every event. At right, Larry welcomes everyone to Focus on Fishing Day on behalf of Brownells — AND ALPEN!

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Connecting to the Future

POMA hosted numerous college students at conference. They participated in all events and networked with veteran POMA members who mentored them on breaking into the outdoor industry.

“This year, several students attended conference for the second time,” explained Laurie Lee Dovey, POMA executive director. “In addition, numerous students from South Dakota schools joined us for the first time.” 

Although having students attend conference is great, helping them get involved in the traditional outdoor sports industry or become enlightened about the traditional outdoor sports is POMA’s goal.

And, POMA is making a difference in these young people’s lives.

Charles Hawkins, of Bozeman, Montana, is now interning for Simms; Kevin Denny has found his calling in graphic design and illustration and has some opportunities to do some work with POMA and POMA members; Dakota Case, who already is a