Ron Schara…This Bud’s NOT For You!

Since 1996, Budweiser Brewing has teamed up with several national conservation organizations (the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, Ducks Unlimited, Buckmasters American Deer Foundation, Quail Unlimited and the Women’s Shooting Sports Foundation) to positively promote the outdoors through their “Conservationist of the Year” program. Voting is now underway until November, 26th 2004, by mail and on the Internet.

This year there are four candidates vying for the title of Budweiser Conservationist of the Year – 2005. The winner will receive a $50,000 grant while the three runners up will each receive $5,000. Of the four candidates for this prestigious award…one candidate simply does not even belong on the ballot. That candidate is Ron Schara.

I’ve known and worked with Ron Schara for many years up until 1996 when we had a “parting of the ways,” so to speak. Indeed, it would be fair to say that some of my ill feelings toward Ron are as a result of sour grapes. I put a lot of trust in this man for a career, we created a business relationship together…but eventually his desire for “fame and fortune” destroyed everything that we both had worked so very hard to develop. In a matter of a few years I watched a man who was humble about his great success evolve into a self-centered, ego-driven television star (with his dog Raven).

When I look at what the Budweiser Conservationist of the Year award means, it conjures up in my mind someone who works selflessly toward making the natural world a better place for everyone. It’s an award that in the past has been given to someone who does not go out to seek the glory or the accolades associated with putting their name on a conservation effort…and then letting all their little minions do all the hard work behind the scenes. When you read the other three candidate profiles you see common folks who each in their own way put their heart and soul into their conservation project. In contrast, when I read Schara’s profile, I cannot be certain if Schara has done little more than lend his name to most of those efforts for which he takes credit and now seeks reward.

I will give Schara his due…he has been a strong advocate of the outdoors through his many years in newspaper, as a book author, and as a radio/television host. He has also been a very popular and recognizable personality in all of these efforts in Minnesota. I am troubled, however, because Schara has taken on all of these tasks as a paid professional. I truly doubt whether many things Schara now embarks on in his life are done out of charity…rather, it is likely done with the motivation of making himself look better to the public and for making money. And don’t get me wrong…that is fine…but you don’t hang your hat on those accomplishments and then expect to receive a prestigious conservation award because of it. That is simply WRONG!!

I’m urging you to do this. Obviously, if you are reading this blog you have Internet access. I encourage you to go to the Budweiser web site and carefully read over each of the profiles. I then ask you to please choose one of the other three candidates (other than Schara) who are much more deserving of a $50,000 grant and the accolades that go along with such a prestigious national award.

Yes, I think it would be humbling for Ron Schara to miss out on this great honor. He’s received much in his life…I dare say probably even too much. Now, it is time for someone else to step forward into the spotlight and for them to enjoy their “15 minutes of fame.”

NOTE: To reach the section on the Budweiser web site allowing you to vote is somewhat tricky. First go to and then click on “GAME TIME” at the top. This will take you to another section where you must click “OUTDOORS.” Finally, you must click on “Conservationist of the Year – 2005” to enter that portion of the web site that will allows you to vote.

© 2004 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.