The late Dick Kirby, legendary call maker of Orchard Park, N.Y., was honored with the C.B. McCleod Award Feb. 19 during the National Wild Turkey Federation’s National Convention and Sport Show, in Nashville, Tenn.
The C.B. McCleod Award is given each year to an NWTF volunteer who has dedicated his or her life to wildlife, conservation and our hunting heritage. It is given in honor of NWTF volunteer C.B. McCleod, a man from Crestview, Fla., who was instrumental in keeping the NWTF moving forward during its formative years.
Kirby’s family accepted on his behalf at an awards dinner at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center. He passed away Sept. 30, 2010.
“Dick didn’t just talk about the goals of the NWTF, he lived them,” said his wife Beverly. “He loved his God, his family and his country. He would’ve been so honored to accept this award. And as his family, we accept this award for him. Because of the grace of God, we will share the experience with him one day.”
Most hunters know Kirby as the brains and heart behind Quaker Boy, one of the most successful game call companies in America, but those who knew him best remember him most as a kind friend.
“Probably the thing that stands out most in my mind is Dick never viewed himself as a celebrity or hunting icon,” said Brenda Valentine, NWTF spokeswoman and longtime friend of Kirby. “He, like so many of our real hunting legends, chiseled a living from an undying passion, hoping to support a family while feeding his own gnawing hunger for hunting and the outdoors.”
Kirby’s devotion to hunting and conservation was evident through his volunteerism. He was one of the original members of the NWTF when the organization began in the 1970s. He lent his time and talent to all levels of the NWTF, including serving nine years on its national board of directors in the 1990s.
“Dick personally made more than 100 custom calls for the [New York] state chapter to sell in order to help them out of their financial trouble back in 2006,” said Marty Huber, a regional director from the Empire State. “Dick always put the good for all above any individual or personal gain.”
It’s selfless volunteers like Kirby who have made the NWTF a great conservation organization that stands strong behind its mission of conserving wild turkeys and preserving our country’s hunting heritage.
“I have countless, rewarding memories of volunteering and working with the NWTF,” Kirby said in Turkey Country, the NWTF’s membership magazine, less than a month before his passing. “During that time, I saw the NWTF grow like never before and become a major force in conservation. We are an awesome organization, including men, women, youngsters, the disabled and families that together as friends and dedicated workers have and will continue to make a positive impact for conservation and the wild turkey.”
2011 Convention Sponsors
MidwayUSA – Official Sponsor
Academy Sports and Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops, Bank of America, Benelli USA, Browning-USRAC, Call Makers and Collectors Association of America, Chevrolet, Federal Premium Ammunition, Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, HuntVe, Marlin Firearms Company, Mossberg & Sons Inc., Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Nationwide, The Outdoor Connection Inc., Remington Arms Company Inc., Rivers Edge Treestands, SHE Outdoor Apparel, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Weatherby Inc., Wild Turkey Bourbon, Winchester/Olin Corporation