Outdoor life: Experts and artists gather for first Hardigree Fall Rendezvous

Wildlife artists such as William McKinney of Saluda, S.C., and musket shooter Hank “Tomahawk” Gallups of Bethlehem showed their skills Sept. 30 during the Hardigree Fall Rendezvous in Watkinsville.

 

Nearly 30 people skilled in various outdoors activities gathered for the event, the first of its kind held in Oconee County. Flint nappers, bow makers, tree climbers and falconry experts all shared their knowledge with visitiors.

“How can you possibly go wrong with the outdoors,” TV outdoors sporting show host O’Neill Williams said while visiting with people attending the event. “It’s constant. It’s dependable and the education you receive and the experiences you receive by being outdoors can last you a lifetime.”

“More people go fishing in the United States every day than watch the NBA, the NFL, major league baseball, tennis and golf combined,” said Williams, who was a special guest at the event on the 88-acre Hardigree Wildlife Sanctuary off Old Greensboro Highway in Watkinsville.

The event was organized by sanctuary Executive Director Steve Scruggs and his wife, Sharon. Another guest, Kirk Thomas, the founder of Outdoors Without Limits, shared his experience of how a hunting trip ended with him being a paraplegic.

Thomas, a Meridan, Miss., native who now lives in Winterville, was in the woods on a deer hunting trip in Alabama 27 years ago when a tree fell on him, crushing his shoulder and back. Thomas told of how he worked to overcome his disability and return to hunting and fishing.

Thomas created OWL to help others with disabilities enjoy the outdoors.

“God has blessed me so much sitting in this chair, it’s unbelievable,” he said.

OWL has events every weekend for disabled people from October through March.

“It’s not about the dollar. It’s about the opportunity,” he said. “We don’t exclude anybody.”

“We have zero sponsors,” Thomas said. “Everybody is a good ol’ boy, good ol’ dude, good ol’ gal.”

 

More

Sat, 2017-12-09 10:47pm

Birth announcements