About Us

The primary purpose of this Association shall be to improve knowledge and skill among its members in the art of communication through the written or spoken word and through art, illustration and photography. This Association shall also strive to increase public awareness, understanding and appreciation of our outdoor heritage in the use and enjoyment of our natural resources.

To accomplish this purpose, we will support the best use and wise management of all natural resources. We are strong supporters of conservation as defined in the North American Conservation Act. We will likewise strive to maintain the highest standards of professional competency and ethics in communicating to our respective readers or audiences. In all our written, oral and graphic arts communications we will strive to:

   • Promote the highest quality of craftsmanship in the art of communicating the outdoors.

   • Promote responsible ethics among both the communication and the outdoor sportsman.

   • Promote fellowship among members of the outdoor media.

   • Provide an interchange of information and techniques with the membership and with allied 

     organizations.

   • Promote individualism among members without endorsing any particular stand.

   • Promote goodwill among all political parties without the association taking part in any political

     campaign in, or in behalf of, any candidate or political party in any level of government.

History of the Texas Outdoor Writers Association

The first group of outdoor writers in the state organized for the first time shortly after World War II. The late Fred Maly, then outdoor editor of the San Antonio Express News, called together various state outdoor writers and editors to travel together to various outdoor events to collect information for their paper’s outdoor news pages. The first included a tackle show in Chicago and a Canada fishing trip. The group disbanded in its second year.

It was until the early ‘50s when a few outdoor editors on several large dailies around the state began meeting for informal hunting and fishing trips that the ideal of a formal association began to materialize. It was during a hunt at Henry LeBlanc’s duck camp near Port Arthur that the group came into being. It seems that some of the writers in attendance were disgruntled over the recent duck regulations set by the state. The longer they carped, the more determined they became to pass a strongly worded resolution telling the “dirty SOBs in Austin” what they thought and just what they could do with their new duck regulations.

The late L. A. Wilke, who began his outdoor writing career in the 1920’s, and was the consummate gentleman, convinced the group to tone down the resolution, addressing it to the “Gentlemen In Austin.” It is still unclear whether the resolution did any good but it did serve as the catalyst to formalize the group now know as The Texas Outdoor Writers Association. In 1959 the small group elected George Kellam, then editor of the Fort Worth Star Telegram as president. The group has remained active since that time.

The group promotes ethics and fellowship among its members and provides a means of exchanging information and techniques that improve the quality of their professional efforts.

TOWA PAST PRESIDENTS

2020-Present Hailey Johnson
2019-2020 Herman Brune
1959 – George Kellam
1960 – Roy Swann
1961 – Dan Klepper
1962 – Ed Holder
1963-64 – John Thompson
1965-66 – Richard McCune
1967-68 – Hal Swiggett
1969-70 – Stan Slaten
1971-72 – Gene Kirkley
1973 – John Thompson
1974 – Bob Hood
1975 – M.C. Raney
1976 – Dave Ellison (partial term)
1976-77 – Sam Malone
1978-79 – Charlie McTee
1980-81 – Kenny Redin
1982 – Bob Stephenson Sr.
1983-84 – Larry Bozka
1985-86 – Sugar Ferris
1987-88 – Jim Foster
1989-90 – Bud McDonald
1991-92 – Dell Toedt
1993 – Marty Malin
1994-95–Shannon Tompkins
1996-97 – Lee Leschper
1998 – John Jefferson

1999-2000 – Steve Lightfoot
2001-02 – Reavis Wortham
2003 – Mark McDonald
2004-05 – Jonette Childs
2006 – Greg Berlocher
2007 – Burt Rutherford
2008 – Ralph Winingham
2009-10  – John Goodspeed
2011-12 – Bob Lusk
2012-14 – David Sikes
2014-16 – T.J. Greaney
2016-18 – Ray Chapa, Jr.

L.A. WILKE AWARD RECIPIENTS

2017: Marty Malin
2018: Ralph Winingham
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