Winner Of The 2011 Outdoor Photo Contest: Travis Smith!

14 Feb

One of the coolest things about starting a blog is; you never know where it will lead to. One of the things Watching The Back Trail has led too; is being able to approach an outdoor company and say “hey, we’re doing this contest; would you like to donate something?” The next thing you know; we have companies like Bowtech Archery, HHA Sports, Cold Steel Knives, Elk101.com, Extreme Elk Magazine….the list of gracious companies who are willing to donate prizes, keeps growing!

And so last year; I had an idea….I didn’t just want to do a “fan drive”; I wanted to really get people involved. And hopefully…hopefully; things would get interesting! So I came up with the idea for an outdoor photo contest and the rules were pretty simple: submit your favorite outdoor pic that you have taken during 2011. And it was a success! Not only did it bring more awareness to the blog; but it got people involved…not to mention, it got some cool prizes into the hands of a few deserving participants.

This brings us to our winner; Travis Smith. Travis has had a tough go of things; ever since he was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer awhile back. His entry; which we titled “The Good Life”, was not a “hero shot” or some amazing scenery pic. It was a pic of him and his soon to be, two-year old son, sitting on a rock outcropping, with the mountains falling away into the background. Pretty simple…but not to Travis. To Travis is was much more than it seemed and I know that’s why it accrued so many votes. And that’s what it’s all about and what it should be. Sometimes in this fast paced world; we forget to relax and live in the moment, remember the “small stuff”….soak it all in. We never know when our life will be “interrupted” and now the “small things” that we took for granted; are a huge struggle or just too far out of reach.

This is my son and I after glassing for elk during the general cascade rifle hunt in Oregon. It was a couple of days before his 2nd birthday. It is very special to me because it was the first time we had been in elk camp in a year. I had been diagnosed with cancer and was going through treatments the year before. And he spent the last few days in mom's belly at camp before we had to get back to town to see him the first time. He was born the last day of season that year. This will always be a very special picture to me.~Travis Smith

We are very happy that Travis’ pic was voted the winner and we are so thankful that HHA Sports was kind enough to donate our Grand Prize; an Optimizer Lite bowsight! This actually is the same sight I use and I can’t wait for Travis to get back out into the woods this year and whack something with his new sight!

There were so many awesome entries and prizes donated; that we couldn’t just let Travis have all of the fun. We were excited to have enough prizes to allow for a second and third place as well. Kim McCormick was lucky enough to win the prize donated by Corey Jacobsen of Elk101.com. Corey was generous enough to donate a subscription to the new Extreme Elk Magazine (which is one heck of a magazine!) as well as some of his signature elk calls. Who wouldn’t be stoked to take second place!

Brandon Lefebvre had a pair of outstanding entries and his entry “The Finish Line” (one of our personal favorites) earned him some game bags from Caribou Game Bags, as well as a Predator Max gun cover. A big thank you to Jason Peak for helping out with these prizes.

I think that Ryan Meyers entry; entitled “AZ Arrow Tree” definitely deserves an honorable mention. Coming across something like this while in the woods…and especially if you have personal history with it; is very special indeed. So, thank you for your entry Ryan; we’ll see what we can come up with for an “Honorable Mention” prize!

Travis and son with his new Optimizer Lite bowsight that was donated by HHA Sports.

We want to take a moment and thank everyone who took the time to enter our 2011 Outdoor Photo Contest. Start working on this year’s entry! And also; a big thank you goes out to all the companies and people who helped out with the prizes. Without the prizes; there really wouldn’t have been a contest, so once again THANK YOU! A bit of extra special thanks goes out to: Michelle Dawson from Bowtech Archery for her support this year. Chris Hamm “The Hammburglar”…thanks a bunch! Without Chris’s support; there wouldn’t be such an awesome Grand Prize. Thank you Corey Jacobsen for all your help and support; your generosity is much appreciated. And to Jason Peak; you’re a gentleman, a scholar…and a consumer of cheap beer! Thanks for the help!

With the success of the 2011 Outdoor Photo Contest; I would imagine that we’ll be running another one this year too. So keep your cameras with you; you never know when that awesome moment will happen! Have a great 2012 everyone!

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