Second annual Outdoor Legends event brings sold-out crowd

Five Outdoor Legends shared their wisdom and stories to a sold-out crowd during the second annual Outdoor Legends event April 19.

The event was hosted by the College and its Outdoor Recreation Management program and sponsored by Beech Mountain Resort with support by the Mast General Store and Highland Outfitters.

This year’s event, which was held in the historic Valle Crucis Apple Barn, was moved off the Lees-McRae campus after last year’s inaugural Outdoor Legends event piqued the interest of many local community members and the public.

The evening began with dinner and drinks from local High Country businesses Reid’s Catering and Beech Mountain Brewery before moving into the open-panel session.

Nominated by the 2017 Outdoor Legends, the evening’s five 2018 Outdoor Legends included Gil Adams, Bob Benner, Jerry Cantwell, Randy Johnson and Lisa Loveday. One by one, each shared their background and history in the world of outdoor recreation, some stories and a few tips for students looking to enter the field.

Even though each of their stories and backgrounds varied greatly, all of the Outdoor Legends shared a common thread—they embodied the definition of an Outdoor Legend.

An Outdoor Legend is someone who “has contributed significantly to the High Country outdoors through education, service, scholarship or development,” shared Outdoor Recreation Management professor and event leader Katie Wall at the start of the evening. “They are also someone who has made a lifelong dedication to sharing their passion and improving the outdoor community for all.”

“I was blown away and so thankful for the wide-spread community support of our first off-campus Outdoor Legends event,” Wall said.. “Although the heart of this program will always be our Lees-McRae Outdoor Recreation Management students, I knew that such a powerful event should be shared with the greater High Country community. Learning from those who came before them, understanding the historical context of the outdoors, and learning from very successful Legends will surely provide our students with the knowledge and insight they need to gain the career of their dreams in the outdoors.”

By Nina MastandreaMay 15, 2018