Inaugural Grits Gresham Award Presented


L to R: NSSF President Doug Painter, J. Wayne Fears and Tom Gresham

January 11, 2007 Orlando, Florida — The Professional Outdoor Media Association (POMA) and the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) honored veteran journalist J. Wayne Fears during the State of the Industry Dinner at the Shooting Hunting Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show. Fears, of Hampton Cove, Alabama, was presented with the POMA/NSSF Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator of the Year Award.

In honor of legendary outdoor communicator Grits Gresham, POMA and the NSSF developed the award in 2005 to recognize communicators within the firearms/shooting sports/Second Amendment arena who grasp the ideals, foster the commitment, and display the talent Gresham has shown during his storied career. Tom Gresham presented the award to Fears.

“I am deeply honored to receive this award,” Fears said. “Grits Gresham mentored me right out of college and encouraged me to pursue my dream of becoming an outdoor journalist. He served as a teacher and role model, but most important Grits became a friend.”

Nominations for the award were garnered from all corners of the shooting sports industry, explained Betty Lou Fegely, POMA chairman. Fears received more nominations than any other candidate and was unanimously selected as this year’s recipient by a panel representing the NSSF, POMA and the Gresham family.

Fears has communicated the outdoor message for more than four decades. His work has appeared in all leading shooting sports magazines and his books grace the shelves of thousands of libraries. He’s crafted more than 3,500 articles and authored 20 books published.

During his 11-year tenure as outdoor editor for Progressive Farmer magazine, monthly Fears influenced over 600,000 farmers and ranchers to make their lands available to the public for hunting and shooting.

During the 1970’s and early 80’s, Fears was the wildlife manager for a major timber company. His work with improving wildlife management and making over one-half million acres of commercial forest lands available to the public for hunting established a model that other large land-holding companies followed.

Fears also has served on the National Shooting Sports Foundation Hunting/Shooting Heritage Team, has won numerous writing awards, was a founding board member of POMA and now presides as president of the organization.

Nominees and recipients of the POMA/NSSF Grits Gresham Shooting Sports Communicator of the Year Award are not required to be affiliated with any communicator’s or industry organization. All shooting sports industry professionals are encouraged to make nominations for the award.


POMA Mission… The Professional Outdoor Media Association is a group of individual communicators and Corporate Partners who believe in, defend, support and promote the heritage of hunting, fishing, shooting and traditional outdoor sports through writing, photography and other means. By doing so, members hope to educate the general public about these sports and encourage more participation in them. The organization serves the membership by helping members grow professionally, improve their skills, better their working environments and enhance their businesses.