Several weeks ago, the Hoosier Outdoor Writers held their annual conference at Turkey Run State Park.
We were unable to attend because we were out-of-state at a Detecting the Heartland metal detector hunt.
I didn’t want to miss either event because the HOW conference always has a huge raffle of donated outdoor products.
I buy a lot of tickets and usually go home with a couple large prizes and a box of ammo, fishing lures, hats, books, etc.
But, the detecting event had five people attending who I had written stories about in the last year or so. I had only met one of these people and was anxious to meet the other four.
We decided to attend the detector hunt.
I recently received an email from the Executive Director of the Hoosier Outdoor Writers notifying me I had been elected to the HOW Board of Directors. (See what happens when you’re not around to defend yourself.)
Actually, I had been on the board once before. No pay for this position, but it looks good on my business card.
At these conferences, the writers in the group are given the opportunity to present some of their best writing endeavors during the past year and compete against the others for fame and not much fortune.
But, it’s always fun to beat out some of the best writers in the Midwest. (The person does not have to live in Indiana to belong to the Hoosier group.)
The writing contest has four different categories—hunting, fishing, conservation and other.
Each person can have two entries in each category.
I only entered four articles for judging. I don’t hunt anymore, and went on zero fishing trips last year, so my four articles were in the remaining two categories.
The email from our executive director notified me I had taken a first-place award for one of my stories.
He said he would mail me the certificate for winning the category.
Unfortunately, I haven’t received the certificate yet, and he didn’t tell me which entry was the winner. I just know it was one of the four I submitted.
One of my stories was titled, “Diamonds for the Picking.” This was about our trip to Arkansas last year to attend a metal detector hunt.
Our grandson, Benjamin, went with us on the trip. After we had detected for several hours in the Arkansas heat, he wanted to go about three miles down the road to the Crater of Diamonds State Park.
This park is the only place in the world where the public can search for natural diamonds, and for a small fee, keep whatever they find.
Susie and Benjamin walked the grounds, kicking over dirt piles and picking up small colored rocks.
I found a bench in the shade and rested.
The story explained what to look for, where the diamonds came from, the three different colors of diamonds that can be found in the park, and other important information on finding your own gem.
Another story I submitted was titled, “The Tallgrass Prairie.”
This was about 200 years ago when Indiana was covered with tall grasses, bison and assorted other critters no longer numerous in our state.
I described the many different plants and their flowers which were common then, and the few places left in Indiana which still have small remnants of the original tallgrass prairie.
“Valuable Treasures Hide in Farm Fields” was another story which might be the winner of the first prize.
This article was actually printed in the Pendleton Times-Post on June 2, 2022. It was about a friend of ours who lives near Farmland, Indiana and searches farm fields with his metal detector.
He researches on his computer and finds old house sites, schools, churches, etc. that were around back in the 1800s.
Then he finds the farm owners, gets permission to detect their fields, and comes up with coins, tokens, medallions and lots more good stuff.
The last story I entered in the contest was about a friend of mine who lives in southern Indiana and also detects old house sites.
He has found a falling down barn with a couple dozen old crocks, pottery, bottles and more, old U.S. coins, and then he found some Spanish reales in a wooded area.
When searching an old building foundation, he uncovered an 1800s Russian coin.
After much research, he found the Russians had trading posts along the Ohio River where he was searching.
Perhaps one of the traders lost this coin to be discovered 200 years later.
Which one of these four stories do you think won first prize for the best in the category?
Send me an email at the contact below.
When I find out which story was the best, I will put it in a future column. I liked them all, so I won’t even guess.
Rich Creason is an award-winning outdoors and travel writer whose work has appeared in local, regional, national and international publications for 40 years. Born in Anderson, he is a graduate of Markleville High School. He lives in South Madison County with his wife, Susie. He may be contacted at [email protected].