The New York State Outdoor Writers Association presented the winners of its annual writing and photography recognition program with carved duck decoy first-place awards and second- and third-place certificates and cash awards at the annual meeting of the organization at its joint conference with the Outdoor Writers Association of America on Monday, Sept. 16.

The organization of 100 active members—professional communicators—and several dozen supporting members from the outdoor and travel industry—gathered in Lake Placid Sept. 14-17 for its annual conference.  The Excellence in Craft writing competition and Janice M. Keesler Memorial Photo Contest, co-sponsored by Ducks Unlimited, The Sportsman Channel and Redding Reloading Equipment, were judged by respected professionals of national repute from outside the organization.

“Our judges commented on the professionalism of the entries,” said Glenn Sapir, chair and administrator of the Excellence in Craft program. “It was gratifying that such seasoned professionals thought so highly of our members’ work.”

The photo competition was administered by Bridget Keesler, daughter of the namesake of the photo competition, who played a major role in initiating and administering the photo awards program in its earliest days.

First-place winners in the writing competition for articles published in 2012 were:

  • Newspaper Feature—Steve Piatt, Elizabethtown, for “Perfect Game Plan: Baseball and Fishing Combos,” in the Aug. 10 Outdoor News;
  • Magazine Feature—Joe Hackett, Lake Placid, for “Mystery of the Monument in the Marsh,” in the Summer Central New York Sports;
  • Magazine Column—Angelo Peluso, Port Jefferson, “Hallowed Ground,” in the Sept.-Oct. Tide Magazine;
  • Newspaper Column—Joe Hackett, Lake Placid, for “A Mountain Pond Matter,” in the April 7 Adirondack Daily Enterprise; and
  • Online Publication—Angelo Peluso,  for “Santee’s Last Woodcock,” in the May 17

In the photo competition, first-place winners were:

  • Hunting and Fishing—Steve Piatt, Elizabethtown;
  • Outdoor Recreation—Mike Lynch, Saranac Lake;
  • Outdoor Scenic—Chris Kenyon, Wolcott;
  • Published Photograph—Angelo Peluso, Port Jefferson; and
  • Wildlife, Angelo Peluso, Jefferson Station.

The judges, from all over the country, were all well respected professionals with long, prominent careers in outdoor communication and photography.  Six of the 17 judges are past presidents of the Outdoor Writers Association of America.

A complete list of first- to third-place finishers follows:

Excellence in Craft writing competition winners:

  • Newspaper Feature–1. Steve Piatt, “Perfect Game Plan: Baseball and Fishing Combos,” New York Outdoor News, Aug. 10; 2. David Figura, “Airborne Hunter,” The Post-Standard, Dec. 2; 3. Mike Lynch, “Heroic Effort Saved Climber’s Life,” Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Dec. 22.
  • Magazine Feature—1. Joe Hackett, “Mystery of the Monument in the Marsh,” Central New York Sports, Summer;  2. Glenn Sapir, “Grayling: A Fishing Bonanza,” Outdoor Guide, Holiday Edition;  3. Charles Witek III, “Fishing to Win,” On the Water N.E. Edition, July.
  • Newspaper Column: 1. Joe Hackett, “A Mountain Pond Matter,” Adirondack Daily Enterprise, April 7;  2. Joe Hackett, “Camp Life Transcends the Take,” Adirondack Daily Enterprise, Dec. 15; 3. David Figura,  “First Deer Was Shot with Dad’s Old Gun,” The Post-Standard, Dec. 2.
  • Magazine Column: 1.Angelo Peluso, “Hallowed Ground,” Tide Magazine, Sept.-Oct.; 2. Leo Maloney, “Grouse Hunting Is One of the Delights of Autumn,” Lake Ontario Outdoors, Fall Edition; 3. Angelo Peluso, “Northeast Super Slam,” Tide Magazine, July-Aug.;
  • Online Publication: 1. Angelo Peluso, “Santee’s Last Woodcock,”, May 17;  2. Angelo Peluso, “Dancing with the Dawn,”, July 12; 3. Glenn Sapir, “PETA Shoots Misguided Barbs at the Donald’s Sons,” NSSF Blog, March 15.

Janice M. Keesler Memorial Photo Competition winners:

  • Hunting and Fishing: 1. Steve Piatt; 2. Angelo Peluso, 3. Bill Hilts, Jr.
  • Outdoor Recreation: 1. Mike Lynch; 2. Mike Lynch; 3. Chris Kenyon.
  • Outdoor Scenic: 1. Chris Kenyon; 2. Angelo Peluso; 3. Mike Lynch.
  • Published: 1. Angelo Peluso, Mako on the Fly, On the Water, Jan.; 2. Angelo Peluso, Sushi Flies, Saltwater Flies of the Southeast and Gulf Coast; 3. Bill Hilts, Jr., photo in 2013 Niagara USA Visitors Guide;
  • Wildlife: 1. Angelo Peluso; 2. Tom Schlichter; 3. Mike Lynch.

Logo courtesy New York State Outdoor Writers Association

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