Gene Chague: 2015 Berkshire County League of Sportsmen award winners announced

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The late Chris Porter of Pittsfield was selected to posthumously receive the Berkshire County League of Sportsmen (BCLS) 2015 Sportsman of the Year Award. Chris was a long time officer and esteemed member of the Onota Fishing Club and Pittsfield Sportsmen's. He was instrumental in arranging and cooking for the youth fishing derbies at Wild Acres, for the Club's annual Crappie Derbies on Onota Lake and for the Club's game dinners. Proceeds from those game dinners benefitted Soldier On, Eagle Santa Toy Fund and other worthwhile causes. Without a doubt, Chris indirectly touched and positively influenced hundreds of kids and sportsmen here in the Berkshires.

Steve Bateman of Pittsfield was selected to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. With the help of friends and family, he founded the Harry A. Bateman Fishing Derby Committee to raise money for the Jimmy Fund (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for Children) in the fall of 1992 and joined the Berkshire County Jimmy Fund council in 2002. He also volunteers at the annual Jimmy Fund Ice Fishing Derby. Its goal is to raise funds for the Jimmy Fund and, most importantly, to get children and families involved in fishing and to have a great time.

Since 1993, the first annual Harry A. Bateman Memorial Jimmy Fund Fishing Derby, fishing poles and entry tickets are donated to children of local schools, and other civic organizations (including Elizabeth Freeman Center and Moments House) to help encourage more children into fishing. In just the past five years over $25,000 has been donated to the Jimmy Fund in memory of Harry A. Bateman.

Steve Bateman was a recipient of a Jimmy Fund Lifetime Commitment Award in 2007 at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. The award is for someone who donates 10 or more years of volunteer work for the Jimmy Fund.

Steve Bateman was a lifetime member and competitive shooter for the former Central Berkshire Bowmen from 1977 until it closed in 1987.

Matthew Sisk, deputy director to the Massachusetts Dept. of Conservation & Recreation (DCR) was selected to receive the Sportsmen's Appreciation Award. Hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts may remember how difficult it was gaining access to our local state forests — gates were being closed, there was a lack of parking spaces and roads were in disrepair. After relentless prodding by BCLS president Mark Jester and Fish & Wildlife Board Chairman George "Gige" Darey, Sisk became involved. He visited the Berkshires to see first-hand what the problems were and took immediate steps to rectify the problems. Those steps endeared him to the local sportsmen, resulting in this award.

Al Buck of Adams was selected to receive the prestigious John Zuber Lifetime Achievement Award. Nominated by the Adams Outdoorsmen for Youth (AOFY), Al has been a member of that organization for more than 20 years, and is a key member. As a cook for its annual Game Supper each March, he has served meals to as many as 200 guests at a time. Often, he worked outdoors for hours under cold-weather conditions. That Game Supper is AOFY's main fund raising event, and Buck's efforts have contributed greatly to its mission of service.

Buck is also an active member of the MassWildlife Angler Education Program. He always helps at the AOFY's annual Winter Fishing Derby at Cheshire Lake, as well as its summer fishing events at Reynold's Pond. An avid hunter and fisherman, Al is always ready to lend a hand, teach a child how to fish, and help other members with setup and cleanup activities.

The richly deserved awards will be presented at the Silvio O. Conte Memorial Banquet at the Cheshire Rod and Gun Club on the evening of April 16. This year the event will also be in memoriam to the late Chuck Jones of Dalton. Tickets, which cost $30 per person, can be obtained from any BCLS delegate.

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The annual Springfield Sportsmen's Show opens next Friday and runs through Sunday at the Big E in West Springfield. The hours are Friday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10 AM to 5 PM. Tickets are $13 for adults, $5 for kids 6-12, and 5 years-and-under are free. It is billed as the undisputed largest "pure" sportsmen's show in the Northeast. The show includes the best of hunting, fishing, boating and adventure recreation that the outdoor world has to offer all bundled together in one great event. It is filled with hundreds of booths, exhibits, seminars and action areas. Click onto www.osegshows.com for more information.

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There will be a firearms safety course on February 21 at the Greylock Community Club in North Adams. This class is required in order to obtain a LTC/FID Card. The class will be taught by Dan Peck, an National Rifle Association and Massachusetts State Police Certified Instructor who can be reached at 413-663-4896.

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The folks at the local chapter of the International Defense Pistol Association (IDPA) are gearing up for its 2016 season. Shawn Sullivan will be taking the lead this year. There will be a meeting with interested folks who wish to be involved in IDPA at the Lee Sportsmen's Association house next Saturday at 11 a.m. For more information, contact Shawn at ssullee@icloud.com.

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The Bay State Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is having a banquet on Saturday, Feb. 27 at the Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club. It is a social evening of fun, great food and camaraderie all for the benefit of elk country. Tickets are limited, so purchase yours today for a chance to win top notch firearms, premium hunts and exclusive home furnishings. Doors open at 5 p.m. Click onto the RMEF Baystate Chapter for more information or call Gary D. Johnston at 413-298-3623.

Questions/comments: berkwoodsandwaters@roadrunner.com. Phone/fax: 413-637-1818.


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