Behind the Scenes of Bucks for the Brave: Ambassadors Making a Difference
It is almost time for the Annual Bucks for the Brave Hunt, hosted by Sportsman’s Choice Wildlife Feeds (Record Rack), a brand of Cargill. Sportsman’s Choice offers premium wildlife feed for various animals such as deer, game birds, and fish. Marketing Lead, Jodi Dallman Cornelison, had the idea several years ago to provide an unforgettable hunting experience for veterans and retired first responders as a way to honor their service to their country and communities. We are honored to promote and cover the Bucks for the Brave event taking place on two different weekends in November. But we aren’t the only ones that look forward to the event every year, there is a slew of ambassadors that partner with Record Rack to make the experience that much more special for our heroes. This year, the women’s hunt will take place November 1-5, 2023 and the men’s hunt will take place November 8-12, 2023. While the nominations are closed, we still encourage you to read through the nominated heroes to hear their stories.
It’s no easy feat to not only bring together 12 heroes for this hunt, but it also takes a lot of organization, planning, and phenomenal volunteers to pull off a successful event. There is a ton that goes on behind the scenes to make this happen and today, I want to highlight some of the ambassadors that make these hunts special for our heroes.
Trinity Oaks 501(c)3 organization is deeply involved in hosting these American Heroes. Trinity Oaks Outdoors, a nonprofit established with the belief that engaging in outdoor activities can be a transformative and healing experience, is at the core of their mission. Trinity Oaks aims to make a meaningful impact in the lives of others through hunting, fishing, and other outdoor pursuits. For the Bucks for the Brave program, Trinity Oaks generously provides accommodations, meals, beverages, hunting guides, and a once-in-a-lifetime hunting opportunity. We had the opportunity to speak with Tom Snyder, the Founder of Trinity Oaks, and asked him about memorable moments from previous years. Here is his response.
“They are all special. It’s the moments when you know you had an impact on someone that has given it all. All we are doing is offering a hunting trip to these folks but a lot of them have given so much more. The emotion and passion that I see from these guys is astounding. It’s lifechanging being able to sit around a campfire with the men and women that have given up so much for our Country.” – Tom Snyder
There are two main groups of ambassadors that you are going to read about below, rodeo ambassadors and outdoor ambassadors, both of which play a crucial role in playing a part each year in Bucks for the Brave. In addition to the outdoors and rodeo folks, heroes also get to enjoy country music provided by Ambassador, Austin English and other music artists throughout the weekend.
Keith Warren – The High Road Group
Keith Warren is a renowned figure in the outdoor industry and a passionate advocate for conservation. He has been creating and hosting television programs specifically catered to outdoor enthusiasts since 1984, and has made appearances on various networks such as Outdoor Channel, ESPN, ESPN 2, Sportsman Channel, and Pursuit Channel. Currently, Keith is the host of The High Road with Keith Warren and Deer & Wildlife Stories with Keith Warren, both of which are nationally broadcasted on the Pursuit Channel. With an impressive track record, Keith has produced and hosted seven critically acclaimed television series, totaling over 1,200 episodes – a feat unmatched by any other outdoor host. In addition to his television work, Keith is actively engaged in public speaking engagements, where he addresses and interacts with thousands of sportsmen each year. These appearances at store events, outdoor consumer shows, conservation gatherings, and charitable organizations allow Keith to maintain a strong and invaluable connection with his loyal viewers.
Wade Middleton – Americana Outdoors, Whitetail Diaries & Deer Gear TV
Wade Middleton is the President and Co-Owner of CarecoTV, one of the leading outdoor media production companies in the nation. He’s the host or co-host of the following television programs sponsored by Record Rack®: Whitetail Diaries, Deer Gear TV, and Americana Outdoors.
Originally from Oklahoma, the now-Texan has been involved with several non-profit organizations that are involved with programs close to his heart that help promote conservation, youth in the outdoors, as well as creating opportunities for everyone to share his passions of fishing and hunting.
Kristy Lee Cook – Host of the Most Wanted List
Kristy Lee Cook, an American country singer, gained fame as the seventh-place finalist on the seventh season of American Idol. Born in Seattle, Washington, she is the youngest of three children to Larry and Carlene Cook. Her brother-in-law is John Dutton, a quarterback in the Arena Football League. Cook currently resides in Amarillo, Texas with her husband Lee Orr and their son Tillman. In 2005, Cook released her debut album titled “Devoted”. Three years later, she signed with 19 Recordings and Arista Nashville, leading to the release of her post-Idol album, “Why Wait”, on September 16, 2008. This album featured her first chart single, “15 Minutes of Shame”, which reached the Top 30 on the Billboard country charts. Her first single for Broken Bow Records, “Airborne Ranger Infantry”, came out on October 16, 2012. Following her American Idol appearance, Cook appeared in various TV shows. In 2010, she hosted Outdoor Channel’s “Outdoor’s 10 best” and served as a judge on “Wanted: Adventure Host”. From 2011 to 2013, she hosted the hunting series “Goin’ Country” on the Versus channel. Currently, Cook is the owner and host of the TV show “The Most Wanted List”, now filming its sixth season.
Timmy Horton, Bass Pro and TV Host of Timmy Horton Outdoors
Tim Horton is host of Timmy Horton Outdoors, an educational fishing show currently airing on the Pursuit Channel. His show is in its 8th season. He has been a professional bass angler for 20 years, winning Rookie of the Year and Angler of the Year in his first year competing on the Bassmaster Tour. Tim has participated in Major League Fishing since its inception and currently fishes the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour. He has also hosted The Bass Pros for 14 years. Tim and his wife Kim live in north Alabama with their five children. When not fishing, Tim’s passion is hunting and all things outdoors; so much so that he and his wife recently opened a hunting and fishing lodge in Alabama. Although Tim stays busy with the lodge, their fishing lure company, the television show, and competitive fishing, nothing is more important to him than conservation and being good stewards of the land and waters that God has blessed us with.
PRCA Steer Wrestler Dakota Eldridge
Another huge supporter of the event is 9x Wrangler NFR Qualifier, Dakota Eldridge. From the very first day, Dakota jumped right in and was happy to lend a helping hand when it came to picking out boots and hats from the surprise trip to Cavender’s. An avid hunter himself, he was just as comfortable in a pair of camo than he was in his Wrangler jeans and boots. When we caught up with him after the event, this is how he described the weekend:
“I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Veterans Day! I was blessed with the opportunity to go on a hunting trip with several veterans this past week. We have harvested some great bucks, but more importantly, we have made memories to last a lifetime, from sitting by the campfire telling stories to be crammed in a tiny little ground blind with 4 big dudes! If it wasn’t for them risking their lives and sacrificing their loved ones I wouldn’t be able to do what I do for a living. I am forever grateful for our servicemen and women!” – Dakota Eldridge
Clayton Hass | 4x National Finals Rodeo Pro Steer Wrestler & RFD-TV American Champion
Clayton Hass is a professional rodeo cowboy who competes in various events such as steer wrestling, team roping, calf roping, and steer roping. Born and raised on a ranch in Terrell, TX, Clayton discovered his passion for riding horses at a young age. He achieved his first victory at the age of 6 and knew that it was just the beginning of his journey. Clayton continued to compete in rodeos at different levels, from junior rodeos to college rodeos, and eventually became a full-time competitor in the Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA).Throughout his career, Clayton has qualified for the National Finals Rodeo four times and has secured multiple round wins in steer wrestling. He takes great pride in his accomplishments, including training and competing on the 2-time AQHA Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year, winning The American (considered the richest rodeo in the world), triumphing at the Pendleton Round Up, and earning the coveted All-Around title at the Pendleton RoundUp. In addition to the PRCA, Clayton can also be seen participating in the Texas Rodeo Circuit, Jackpots, and Invitationals across the country.
With rodeo earnings surpassing $1 million, numerous titles, a loving wife, three children, and a successful horse training operation, one might assume that Clayton has reached his peak. However, he describes his career thus far as merely the warm-up. Clayton is now teaming up with industry experts to take himself, his equine athletes, and his rodeo career to the next level. He has set ambitious goals and is fiercely pursuing them.
PRCA Saddle Bronc Veteran Heith DeMoss
Another Pro Rodeo Cowboy, Heith is a 9x Wrangler NFR Qualifier and avid outdoorsman. Due to his outgoing character, Heith was a natural fit to be a part of the Bucks for the Brave program. Not to mention, he has a talent for shaping hats, which came in handy when it came time for the heroes to pick out their shiny new Resistol hats.
“I have to say Record Rack has gone and done it up BIG with #bucksforthebrave . This year is one I’ll remember for the rest of my life. I got to meet pretty AWESOME Veterans and first responders this weekend with amazing stories and life lessons. Extremely honored to be a part of it and forever grateful for their service.” – Heith DeMoss
Andy Stewart | Professional Rodeo Announcer
Andy Stewart is one of the most talented voices traveling the rodeo road today. Andy has announced the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and boasts a smooth, charismatic sound that entertains fans across the country. He likes to include patriotism and freedom of religion themes as he starts announcing a rodeo. He also reminds the audiences the United States is the greatest place to live in this planet despite the problems and differences the country has today.
Tyler Kijac | Rodeo Producer & Stock Contractor
Tyler’s career began as a professional bull rider. However, in 2015, he left that behind and relocated to Oklahoma to chase his dream. The following year, he officially established TK Pro Rodeo, a company focused on stock contracting and rodeo production. Currently, he is responsible for organizing nearly 50 rodeo events throughout the country. His efforts were recognized in 2022 when he received multiple accolades from the ACRA, including New Rodeo of the Year, Stock Contractor of the Year, Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year, and Bull Riding Bull of the Year. Notably, Tyler also competed on Season 2 of the TV show “The Ultimate Cowboy Showdown” in 2020, hosted by Trace Adkins. He was invited back for the 2023 All Stars Season, which aired this Fall.
More Ambassadors Include:
NASCAR Driver Spencer Boyd
Spencer Boyd is a long-time partner of Record Rack, making it all the more natural for him to be involved. Spencer drives the No. 20 Chevrolet for Young’s Motorsports and loves coming out to be a part of these hunts each and every year. I was able to snag this quote from him on his involvement and experience with Bucks for the Brave.
“These last few days at Trinity Oaks with Sportsman’s Choice & Record Rack Feed have been amazing. Spending time with these Veterans and First Responders while they harvest some great Bucks on Veterans Day is awesome. From great food to being 4 man packed in a ground blind I will cherish these memories forever!” – Spencer Boyd
Austin English | National Country Arist
Austin English is a national country music artist. He is a long-time volunteer for Trinity Oaks events. He has been a good friend to our Bucks for the Brave Program. This will be his 8th year attending and playing around the campfire for our heroes.
A Huge Thanks to All Partners and Ambassadors of Bucks for the Brave
This event would not be possible without the support of the partners and sponsors above. If you are looking for ways to support this program, we encourage you to head to the Sportman’s Choice website and either submit a nomination for a veteran or retired first responder you know and love, read the animations of the American heroes submitted, or do both! It is our mission to spread the word of this amazing event and to make this year, the best year yet. Learn more about the mission below!
CLN Community & Event Sponsor