Four honored at BCLS Conte Banquet
The Cheshire Rod & Gun Club banquet hall was packed for the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen’s Silvio O. Conte Memorial Awards Banquet which was held last Saturday evening. Award winners were: Shaun Smith of Lee – Sportsman of the Year, Mark Jester of Pittsfield – John Zuber Award, retired Mass DFW Director Wayne MacCallum of Grafton- Lifetime Achievement Award and the Adams Outdoor for Youth organization – Sportsmen’s Appreciation Award. They were selected by the various sportsmen’s clubs which make up the BCLS. Their individual feats were highlighted in prior columns.
Smith’s award was in recognition of his dedication, leadership and commitment to the sportsmen of MA. BCLS President Mark Jester presented a plaque and citations from State Senator Benjamin Downing representing the Senate and State Rep William “Smitty” Pignatelli representing the House of Representatives. Jester congratulated and thanked him for all of the work that he did for the paraplegic hunting program in MA. For over 40 years he dedicated himself to those who can no longer walk around the woods. “Because of his efforts, they are still getting out into the woods and enjoying the outdoors”, said Jester, “Their memories of being out into the outdoors are good ones instead of just sitting in the chairs to which they are bound.”
“It’s not a one man show”, Smith said in accepting the award. He thanked the past and current members of the DFW for their help over the years as well as Al Vincent who has been involved in the program for as long as he has. He also thanked his understanding wife Mary for her support of his involvement in this program.
Mass F & W Board Chairman George “Gige” Darey of Lenox presented the Lifetime Achievement Award to MacCallum for his efforts to preserve and protect the rich natural resources which will forever benefit the citizens, habitat and wildlife of this great Commonwealth. Noting that he is highly regarded nationwide, he credited MacCallum for pushing for the “presumption of openness” for passive recreation on State lands, for initiating the Land Stamp, a supplement to the Open Space Bond Bill, which resulted in the preservation of thousands of acres in Massachusetts, and more.
In accepting the award MacCallum said that it was a real honor and pleasure to be the director and to work with all of the sportsmen across the state. He loved his job. He commended Acting Director Jack Buckley for all his help along the way.
Wayne Tinney of Adams accepted the Sportsmen’s Appreciation Award for the Adams Outdoor for Youth Organization. He is its President. The award is in appreciation of the Club’s unwavering commitment to the community and to the community’s greatest assets, it youth. “This award is all about helping the kids in our community” said Tinney.
Tinney then presented the John Zuber Award to Mark Jester of Pittsfield for recognition of his unwavering dedication to the sportsmen of Berkshire County. He called him one of the hardest working guys in all of the sportsmen’s groups.
“This is one of the greatest honors ever bestowed upon me”, said Jester. “John Zuber was a great friend and this award means a lot to me. If it wasn’t for John (Previous BCLS President) the County League wouldn’t be what it is today”. Jester talked about hunting with his dad and how he got him involved and sparked his love for the outdoors. He thanked the sportsmen for making it possible for him to represent them in Westborough, Boston and with local legislators. *****
Next Sunday, the Stockbridge Sportsmen’s Club will be holding its annual Spring Fishing Derby on Stockbridge Bowl from dawn until 3:00 PM. There will be $100 prizes for the heaviest trout, pickerel, bass and bullhead. Free lures for all kids 12 and under. Pre-registration fee is $10, after that it is $15. Official rules and weigh-in will be at the boat ramp. For more information call (413)644-3590 or (413)298-4630. *****
The spring turkey hunting season opens tomorrow. Good luck and have a safe and enjoyable hunt. Watch out for the ticks.