Press Releases

Black Belt Adventures Advisory Council Expanded

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bee Frederick | 334-300-3996 | bee@dcwins.com

Black Belt Adventures Advisory Council Expanded

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association (ALBBAA) is proud to announce the addition of 7 members to the organization’s Advisory Council. The Council is comprised of young professionals who are strong advocates and champions for the Black Belt region’s natural resources, cultural assets and various destinations. “Recognizing that outdoor recreation is a strong and viable economic development tool for the sustainability of the region’s residents and communities, the ALBBAA Advisory Council was established to help support our promotion and marketing programs to a broader audience and key stakeholders,” noted Pam Swanner, Executive Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “We are excited to grow the Advisory Council and look forward to their contributions as a group to further ALBBAA’s brand and mission.”

New ALBBAA Advisory Council Members:

Laura Agee of Camden, AL – Agee Images + Film
Holt Blackwood of Tuscaloosa, AL – Briarpatch Outfitters
Christopher Joe of Montgomery, AL – Connecting Birds & Nature Tours (Newbern, AL)
Colin Harris of Birmingham, AL – Birmingham Recovery Center
Cooper Holmes of Marion, AL – Southeastern Land Group
Addy McDaniel of Auburn, AL – Covey Rise
Casey Rigsby of Auburn, AL – Westervelt

These ambassadors for the Black Belt join the current Advisory Council members of Mikel Cade (Frameworks Construction), William Crawford (University of Montevallo President’s Outdoors Scholars Program), Casey Rogers (ALFA), Hunter Smith (Southern Wildlife Services), Ellis Terry (Ingram & Associates), and Taylor Williams (PowerSouth).

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Black Belt Big Gobbler Photo Contest Returns for 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Bee Frederick | 334-300-3996 | bee@dcwins.com

Black Belt Big Gobbler Photo Contest Returns for 2021

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – New and old members of the Tenth Legion will head afield this week with the opening of Alabama’s spring turkey season on Saturday, March 20. Successful hunters in Alabama’s Black Belt, widely regarded as one of the best turkey hunting areas in the country, are encouraged to enter into the ninth annual Big Gobbler Photo Contest.

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is proud to continue the annual tradition of hosting this contest in conjunction with Alabama’s turkey season to showcase the region as well as to highlight both seasoned and new hunters.

“Spring in the Black Belt is synonymous with hunting hard-gobbling eastern turkeys,” said Pam Swanner, Executive Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “We invite you to visit our 23-county region to experience the thrill of pursuing North America’s largest game bird in the Black Belt’s bottomlands and beautifully thinned pine stands. While you’re here, be sure to stop in at any of the local establishments for great eats, drinks and friendly chats with the locals who characterize the fabric of the Black Belt.”

The winner will receive a copy of a recently released book by famed Alabama turkey hunter Ron Jolly entitled “Memories of Spring” along with a limited-edition commemorative “Memories of Spring” box call that Jolly produced with another turkey hunting legend, Preston Pittman (combination of book and call valued at $150).

The contest, conducted online at www.AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/biggobblercontest, will begin on opening day and close on Sunday, May 2. Please note that Barbour, Lowndes, and Oakmulgee Wildlife Management Areas will all have a delayed start to the season that will begin on Saturday, March 27.

Successful hunters are also reminded to comply with all game laws, including purchasing a valid hunting license and game-checking their harvested bird.

Participants are limited to only one entry and must fully complete the online form with the necessary information, including person (or persons) in the photo and the county where the gobbler was harvested. Visitors to the contest webpage may vote once per day, per entry, per IP address.

Only photos of turkeys taken in the Black Belt during the 2020-21 season (including those taken in Clarke and Monroe counties during the 2020 fall season) are eligible. Previous winners of the Big Gobbler Contest from 2018-19 and 2019-20 are not eligible this year.

The Black Belt includes the following counties: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox.

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices. Our Big Gobbler Photo Contest was created to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region.

 

Big Buck Photo Contest Winner 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Bee Frederick | 334-300-3996 | bee@dcwins.com

First Deer for Seven-Year-Old Takes Top Prize in Big Buck Photo Contest

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The ninth annual Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association (ALBBAA) Big Buck Photo Contest drew nearly 100 entries and saw seven-year-old Roberts Griffin of Montgomery emerge as the winner.

“By all measurements, literally, it was a fantastic season for deer hunters in Alabama and across the Black Belt,” said ALBBAA Director Pam Swanner. “This region continues to live up to its reputation of producing quality deer year in and year out, and we enjoyed entries from nearly every county in the region – many of which were first deer or family outings that will live on as lifelong memories afield.”

Roberts Griffin was hunting with his father, Spears Griffin, in South Montgomery County over the Christmas holidays when he harvested the winning buck. The youngster had been practicing shooting with a .22 long rifle over the summer to prepare for the upcoming deer season, but nothing could have fully prepared him for what stepped into the field the day after Christmas.

As the hunt unfolded, a big bodied buck entered the back of the food plot about 30 minutes before sunset and began slowly making his way to within 100 yards. As the deer got within range, Spears helped the youngster overcome his buck fever and squeeze off a quality shot. The buck took off running out of sight.

The elder Griffin recounts, “We didn’t see much sign at first, and I could tell Roberts was beginning to lose hope. I did my best to help him stay positive. We took it very slow and ended up finding the first drop about 30 yards from where he had been standing. There wasn’t much to follow, but I wanted to teach him how to take it slow and properly trail a deer.” Roberts and his dad trailed the deer about 80 yards and ultimately found his buck in some tall grass just off of the field. “I can remember my father and I trailing my first buck when I was 9, and the range of emotions that I went through. I wanted Roberts to have a similar experience, and boy did he! Funny enough, I found myself reliving those memories and emotions as well.”

After the initial excitement subsided, they both realized that this mature, 220 pound 11-point buck was no typical first buck. With receiving the most votes in the contest, Roberts will take home an original 16×20 whitetail buck photo mounted on canvas by award-winning and nationally credited wildlife photographer Tes Jolly along with a $100 gift card to Bass Pro Shops.

On winning the contest Spears noted, “What a special moment for both of us and what a first deer. Our family is blessed with many memories afield and we take pride in our conservation and management practices to ensure a healthy deer population and quality experiences with family and friends.”

Hunting is a family affair for the Griffin’s as Roberts twin brother, Spears, also harvested his first deer the following week. An impressive 200 pound 9-point, this trophy buck will also be proudly displayed with a shoulder mount in the boys shared bedroom next to his brother’s buck.

To see all 97 entries, visit AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/bigbuckcontest.

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices. The Big Buck Photo Contest was created to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region.

The Black Belt includes the following counties: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox.

Black Belt Bounty Racks Up Awards

September 24, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Bee Frederick | 334-300-3996 | bee@dcwins.com

‘Black Belt Bounty’ Racks Up Awards at Regional Outdoor Media Conferences

Black Belt Bounty, Alabama Black Belt Adventure Association’s (ALBBAA) stunning coffee table book celebrating the Black Belt’s rich hunting and fishing heritage, was recently presented with the top awards at two different regional outdoor media conferences.

The commemorative, deluxe hardcover book took home first place in the Industry Public Relations Category from the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association’s (SEOPA) annual Excellence in Craft awards. It was also awarded third place in the Outdoor Book Category by SEOPA. Additionally, the Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writers (AGLOW) presented Black Belt Bounty with their featured award for the Best of Industry Public Relations during their annual Awards-In-Craft presentation.

“These recent awards are a testament to the various contributors that helped make this ALBBAA 10thanniversary publication a treasure for any conservationist or avid outdoors enthusiast,” said ALBBAA Director Pam Swanner. “We are incredibly grateful for the talents of those who truly captured the essence of the Black Belt within these pages. The history, traditions, food, abundant natural resources and, of course, people continue to make this region a destination that we are proud to call home and support. We are honored by these awards and offer sincere appreciation to SEOPA and AGLOW for recognizing this work.”

Black Belt Bounty is a literary work of art that beautifully and articulately represents all that makes up the famed Black Belt region of Alabama. Its pages are filled with striking images and artwork from talented and nationally recognized wildlife photographers and artists whose work is counterbalanced with words from an impressive bevy of skilled, award-winning writers. Also featured are wild game and other recipes that are created by celebrity chefs. Most all contributors are from Alabama and many from the Black Belt.

ALBBAA would like to thank the various partners that helped to sponsor Black Belt Bounty: Alabama Power Company, Thomas and Cindy Harris, Alabama Farmer’s Cooperative, Alabama Conservation and Natural Resources Foundation, Alabama Wildlife Federation, PowerSouth, University of Alabama Center for Economic Development, University of West Alabama and Sumter County Nature Trust, Alabama Farmer’s Federation and John Hall & Company.

“This recognition by regional outdoor media organizations from around the country and the contribution of all that made Black Belt Bounty a resounding success allows us to further our mission of promoting this special region of the Black Belt as a world-class outdoor recreation area,” said ALBBAA Board President Thomas Harris.

The Black Belt includes the following counties: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox.

To purchase a copy of Black Belt Bounty, please visit: https://alabamablackbeltadventures.org/blackbeltbountybook/

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is committed to promoting and enhancing outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities in the Black Belt in a manner that provides economic and ecological benefits to the region and its citizens. For information, go to www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org.

2020 Best Fish Photo Contest Winner

August 25, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Bee Frederick | 334-300-3996 | bee@dcwins.com

Special Needs Angler Lands Best Fish Photo Contest

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Lake Eufaula is well-known as the “Bass Capitol of the World”, but it was crappie that helped seven-year-old Blakely Sweatt reel in the winning photo for this year’s Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Best Fish Photo Contest.

Fishing with her grandparents on the sprawling Lake in Barbour County, Blakely hauled in several crappie throughout the day. Danny Waters, Blakely’s grandfather, fishes often on the Lake and submitted the photo of Blakely with her great catch.

Waters described Blakely as an enthusiastic young girl who never meets a stranger and loves to be outdoors, especially with a fishing rod in her hand. Danny and his wife have a fishing camp on Lake Eufaula and spend many weekends in Alabama’s Black Belt with their four grandchildren.

“There is nothing better than being outdoors with family. These grandchildren are the light of our lives, and we love experiencing the bountiful beauty of nature with them whenever we can,” said Waters. “Blakely does not allow her special needs to slow her down, she is active and passionate about life, and we were all thrilled when she won the contest.”

Blakely won a half-day guided fishing trip on Lake Eufaula led by local expert Tony Adams of ‘Gone Fishin’ with Tony’ as well as a package of lures and hooks donated by TTI Blakemore. The total value of the package was $350.

“We love seeing families and youngsters enjoying the vast recreational opportunities available within the Black Belt, especially during these times,” noted Pam Swanner, Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “Spending time in the great outdoors is so important, and the Black Belt is the perfect place to encourage a love and appreciation for nature. ALBBAA thanks all of the contestants who entered photos this year and is pleased to honor Blakely for her fish!”

ALBBAA promotes and encourages ethical hunting and fishing practices. The Black Belt includes the following counties: Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa and Wilcox.

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is committed to promoting and enhancing outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities in the Black Belt in a manner that provides economic and ecological benefits to the region and its citizens. For information, go to www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org.

 

2020 Big Gobbler Photo Contest Winner

May 6, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Bee Frederick | 334-300-3996 | bee@dcwins.com

Jake Hornsby Wins Big Gobbler Photo Contest

Youngster’s First Turkey Special for Family

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – With the close of another turkey season, Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is excited to announce 14-year-old Jake Hornsby of Reeltown as the Big Gobbler Photo Contest Winner for 2020.

Jake’s photo received 460 votes and edged out nearly 30 other contestants to claim the title. Additionally, the bird was Jake’s first turkey which was called in by his father and harvested with his grandfather’s Remington 870 making it a true experience they will never forget.

Jake and his father, Brandon, hunt in Lowndes County and have been hunting together for 10 years. In recounting the story, Brandon noted “The one we ended up taking weighed 12 pounds, had a 4.5 inch beard and 1/2 inch spurs. There weren’t any super tight expensive chokes, high end turkey loads or professional calling involved. Just a 14-year-old boy with an old, worn out, passed down shotgun with a factory full choke, some cheap Remington turkey loads and some amateur calling from his dad. When we went back to gather up all of our gear and head out, Jake looked at me with the biggest smile and said “Daddy, I love deer hunting, but this turkey hunting…ain’t nothing like it!”

Jake Hornsby has been awarded with a National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) framed and doubled matted Lynch and Gibson turkey box calls print (limited edition) by Melissa Gayman Ball donated by the NWTF Alabama Chapter. He also received a newly released book titled “Memories of Spring” by avid outdoorsman Ron Jolly and wildlife photographer Tes Randle Jolly.

“Each year the region’s hunters never fail to showcase some of the finest turkey hunting opportunities in the country with their successful hunts,” said Pam Swanner, Executive Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “Additionally, we know it’s really the time afield with family and friends that’s embedded in our outdoor heritage and traditions.  Seeing young people experience the bounty of the Black Belt is one of the many reminders of why this region remains so special to so many.”

This year’s contest had just shy of 30 entries of successful turkey hunts throughout the Black Belt region. The contest was open throughout turkey season as a way to further educate the public on the abundance of natural resources found in Alabama’s Black Belt region. To view all of the other contest entries visit www.alabamablackbeltadventures.org.

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is committed to promoting and enhancing outdoor recreation and tourism opportunities in the Black Belt in a manner that provides economic and ecological benefits to the region and its citizens.

2020 Best Dogs of the Black Belt

April 6, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Bee Frederick | 334-300-3996 | bee@dcwins.com

Cash is King of the Best Dogs of the Black Belt Photo Contest

2020 Best Dog Photo Winner

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The first ever Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association “Best Dogs of the Black Belt Photo Contest” was an astounding success by all measures and finished with Steve Hutto’s photo of Cash emerging as the winner. The contest drew nearly 200 entries all totaling more than 10,700 votes this year with Hutto’s photo of Cash garnering nearly 7,300 votes.

“We loved seeing everyone’s hunting companions throughout this contest,” said Pam Swanner, director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “We know that people rightfully love their canine hunting buddies and the overwhelming response we had to this contest only solidified that sentiment. So much of being afield is the dog work and this contest was a fantastic way to recognize and praise these sporting dogs as well as the endless hunting opportunities with the Black Belt region.”

The photo of Cash further highlighted the Black Belt’s cultural significance with bird dogs, and the contest as a whole promoted the numerous dog hunting opportunities within the Black Belt including quail hunting, duck hunting, small game hunting as well as hog and deer hunting.

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2020 Big Gobbler Photo Contest

Big Gobbler Photo Contest Opens Along with Alabama Turkey Season

MONTGOMERY, Ala.

Turkey hunters in Alabama will be heading into the woods this weekend with the opening of spring turkey season on Saturday, March 21. Hunters pursuing wary gobblers in Alabama’s Black Belt – long known for its hallowed turkey woods – are encouraged to submit photos of successful hunts.

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Gobbler Photo Contest, now in its eighth year, will be showcasing the 23-county Black Belt region’s dedicated hunters and legally harvested birds. The contest this year will be conducted online at AlabamaBlackBeltAdventures.org/biggobblercontest and will feature a prize of an official National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) framed and doubled matted Lynch and Gibson turkey box calls print (limited edition #300 of 1900) by Melissa Gayman Ball (valued at $225) donated by the NWTF Alabama Chapter. The winner will also receive a newly released book titled “Memories of Spring” by avid outdoorsman Ron Jolly and wildlife photographer Tes Randle Jolly. This book is full of entertaining stories that any beginner or seasoned turkey hunter will enjoy.

The contest coincides with the length of Alabama’s spring turkey season which, with recent changes, now runs from Saturday, March 21 to Sunday, May 3 within the Black Belt. Please note that Barbour, Lowndes, and Oakmulgee Wildlife Management Areas will all have a delayed start to the season that will begin on Saturday, March 28.

“It is no secret that Alabama’s Black Belt region is home to some of the finest turkey hunting in the country,” said Pam Swanner, Executive Director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures
Association. “These wily eastern turkeys are indeed the “King of Spring” and present an addicting challenge to hunters of all levels. We encourage folks to visit the habitat-rich Black Belt for fantastic turkey hunting opportunities and stand ready to assist hunters interested in a full- service outfitter as well as the public lands available within the region.”

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2020 Big Buck Photo Contest Winner

The Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association

February 11, 2020

Young Luverne Hunter Wins

8th Annual Big Buck Photo Contest

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – The eighth annual Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association Big Buck Photo Contest drew more than 9,100 votes this year, with Porter Beasley of Luverne emerging as the winner. The 9-year-old outdoorsman won a CVA .50 caliber Optima Muzzleloader with a KonusPro Scope and gun case, valued at $535, by receiving the most votes in the online contest.

“We are always happy to highlight the memories made while hunting in the Black Belt,” said Pam Swanner, director of the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association. “We love seeing families share these experiences here in the Black Belt.

“Our contest this year had entries from 20 of the 23 Black Belt counties with a wide range of hunters sharing their photos – youngsters and adults, men, women and children. We enjoy bringing these contests to our followers to promote ethical hunting and fishing in the Black Belt and celebrate all our region has to offer.”

Porter is a fourth grader at Luverne School and his 10-point buck was taken on the Friday afternoon of the special youth hunt in November just outside of his hometown. The buck had a rough gross score of 141, according to his dad and hunting partner, Mylan Beasley.

“Porter has taken several deer,” his dad said, “but this one is his best. He has really taken notice of how special his deer was, and it has led him to pass on several quality deer this year. He hunts as much as possible and is in the woods around our house daily. He has beaten a path to the ponds on our place, as well.”

The hunt that produced the winning photo was over a 3-acre food plot. Beasley said several doe and young bucks came to the plot, but Porter wanted to wait to see what would happen later since it was his first hunt of the year. “As the shadows disappeared and the deer really started coming in, I looked over Porter’s right side and noticed a rack moving through the woods. I got his attention and he positioned his rifle into the shooting window. When the buck exited the timber and stood in the plot, maybe 30 yards away, he was already in Porter’s sights. Before I could tell him to take a deep breath and make a good shot, Porter’s rifle cracked, and the buck kicked with both back legs and dug his way back into the timber.”

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Best Hunting Dog Photo Contest

Hunting for the Best Sporting Dogs

January 20, 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Mike Perrin | 205-969-1331 | 205-540-7721 | mike@dcwins.com

Share Your Best Sporting Dog Photos to Win New ALBBAA Contest

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Hunters in the Black Belt are justifiably proud of their dogs, those who work the fields and woods with them. With these great dogs in mind, the Alabama Black Belt Adventures Association is sponsoring another online photo contest – “Best Dogs of the Black Belt” – with the goal of putting the spotlight on the great dog hunting opportunities available in the region.

The contest is open to photos of all hunting dogs. Lap dogs are great too, but this contest is NOT for them. We want photos of dogs in the woods, on point, in action, or posing with their retrieved bird or game. Photos can include the owner or family members as a sidekick to the main star – your furry friend and hunting partner. A general snapshot of your canine in his comfy bed, hanging out on the porch or anything else other than showing off his hunting skills will not qualify.

The winner will be the photo that receives the most votes by our deadline of March 31, 2020. The top vote-getter will receive a Filson Game Mesh Vest (value $145) perfect for the Black Belt’s mild winter seasons and designed for upland bird and small game hunting, donated by Quail Forever, one of the nation’s leading conservation organizations; and, three varieties of Sure Shot Game Calls (the original double reed duck call – the Yentzen Classic, the Rascal 7-in-1 call for duck, quail and turkey hunting and the Speckle Belly Goose Call) as well as the LANYARD (value of $125). Total prize package is worth $270.

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<p>Counties included are Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, Wilcox. Counties included are Barbour, Bullock, Butler, Choctaw, Clarke, Conecuh, Crenshaw, Dallas, Greene, Hale, Lee, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Russell, Sumter, Tuscaloosa, Wilcox.

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