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It’s All About the Readers

February 22, 2019
By Larry Claypool - OVO Editor , Ohio Valley Outdoors

This article originally ran in the Spring issue of Ohio Valley Outdoors Magazine. It was the 93rd issue all-time and final issue.

You have to know that the words we lay down (OK type) and the reason we research an outdoor topic - sometimes experience/experiment - for a story/article or sometimes snap a photograph, is all about you, the reader. Yes, everything we do is about the READERS.

So THANK YOU readers for being there, and reading.

Article Photos

Our Wilson has freely rolled around “the roof” since, remaining a conversation piece. So long Wilson! So long OVO!

Along the way, as editor of this magazine many of our readers have expressed thanks for our efforts. We appreciate that. Thank you!

Looking back to our sports show days at OVO, there were many happy faces, and comments, we received from our readers along the trail of outdoor shows we toured, in cities and counties like; Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Monroeville, Erie, Morgantown, Cambridge, Canfield, Holmes County (OH), Jefferson County (OH), Dalton (OH), Butler (PA) and more.

Many of the shows were major events in the outdoor community, and for readers of OVO. Traditionally our readers would attend shows to renew their annual subscription and 'get a free OVO camo hat'. Those camo hats sold a lot of magazine subscriptions.

I cannot write about our sports show circuit without mentioning our 'top selling' subscription team of Dale Leoni and Dee Crawford. If you attended any of the outdoor sports shows I listed above, you definitely remember 'Dale'. And you surely remember not walking past our vendor booth without hearing Dale's sales pitch. He was a classic pitchman. I speak in past tense of Dale because he tragically died in October of 2012, at the age of 57.

Thank you Dale and Dee. Your 'pitches' brought many, many readers to these pages.

There were a few things Dale Leoni taught me over the years while working sports shows - never, never give up (on selling), don't ever judge a person by how they look (potential subscriber), and look out for curbs in a mall parking lot while pulling the OVO trailer.

While I worked many of the outdoor shows, I had the pleasure of meeting many of our readers, and subscribers. And they shared many great stories about the outdoors, and hunting and fishing tales. Some of those tales led to story ideas for the magazine.

And some of the tales led me to meeting some of the nicest people I've ever met. And some of those people are still good friends of mine. I've found the outdoors community is full of great people, who care about wildlife, conservation and other people.

One such person I met six years ago at the Allegheny Outdoor Show in Monroeville, PA. He was also my junior high science teacher many years ago.

Curt Grimm, of Industry, PA, who's retired from teaching now, was at the Monroeville show to book a western deer hunt from a Colorado outfitter. I was tending to our booth, hawking subscriptions, when Curt stopped by to chat. We talked for a while, about the old days and Curt's hunting trips. We exchanged phone numbers and Curt called me a few weeks later about some ideas he had for a few stories. At the time I had no idea he was so into hunting, and knew so much about the outdoors.

Since then Curt has taught me so much about the outdoors, hunting and fishing techniques, hiking, local history, Indian artifacts and more. We've also gone hiking several times to look for deer sheds and Indian artifacts. Two other excursions were made to his family's hunting cabin in central Pennsylvania to photograph elk and look for elk sheds. We found no sheds, but got a bunch of great photos.

Curt has also penned several interesting articles for OVO and the Ohio Valley Outdoor Times.

Thank you my friend!

I've also become close friends with freelance writer Ralph Scherder. I believe I also first met Ralph at the Monroeville show, at the old Expo location, in perhaps, 2007 or 2008. He was working at his father's taxidermy shop booth at the event. I, again, was learning the trade of hustling magazine subscriptions from Dale Leoni.

Ralph and I bonded almost immediately. There's never a dull moment in our conversations and we're both usually laughing continuously. Ralph is the most complex and complete outdoors person I know, and he's an excellent outdoor writer. His awards and accomplishments are proof of that.

Thank you my friend!

There's one non-human friend I'd like to speak about at OVO. Friends and objects come before us for reasons we do not know.

More than two years ago a large, probably two litre, plastic whiskey bottle appeared on the flat roof outside of our office building. Apparently it was tossed up from the alley below. The roof, visible just outside our windows, covers a lower level garage and is probably 50 feet by 35 feet in size. That bottle rolled aimlessly around on the flat roof for close to a year, blown around with each passing weather front. It became a conversation piece for us, and visitors to our office. Many days it would be in a different spot. During calmer weather it would take up the same space for several days. Eventually the bottle became lodged in a pile of dirt and moss that had built up around a water drain at the far end of the rooftop.

That bottle remained in that spot a few months, "marooned on an island", so to speak. So, later that reference led OVO graphic artist Linda McKenzie and I to a "Cast Away" movie reference that featured actor Tom Hanks and "Wilson" a non-human piece of sports equipment that carried a special segment of that 2000 motion picture.

The bottle marooned on our roof then became Wilson. It wasn't a volleyball and it wasn't swept out to sea (like in the movie), but it allowed for some different commentary each morning after we pulled Wilson from its mossy perch, cleaned it up, removed its liquid (not sure if was old whiskey or water) and secured a photocopy of 'Wilson the volleyball' to the bottle and set it free on our adjoining roof. That was about a year ago.

Our Wilson has freely rolled around "the roof" since, remaining a conversation piece.

Now if you've been paying attention, you've realized that the OVO office is now closed. But, know that Wilson has moved on to entertain another audience.

So long Wilson! So long OVO!



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