Who’s a famous living outdoor personality named TED? Not too difficult, I think most people who would play this word association game would of course say Ted Nugent. Oh sure, there may be lots of other Ted’s that are notable for various reasons…but nobody comes across as energetic and as passionately about their cause as “The Nuge.”
Now let me ask you what stance does Ted Nugent have on such pressing outdoor issues such as gun control, killing wild game, conservation, anti’s, etc.? Are you stumped for an answer…I doubt it. Unless you’ve been hiding in a cave for the past 15 years or so you know exactly how Ted feels about most of the important political issues of our time facing sportsmen. To say Ted is outspoken about his love for the outdoors is somewhat of an understatement…he certainly has a unique style and flair that I suppose is befitting of an aging rock star. Oddly enough, most people either love him or hate him…there doesn’t seem to be a lot of middle ground with people who are apathetic either way towards his views on the outdoors.
Recently, while attending the SHOT Show…I sat in on a filming of a segment called “Ask Ted” where members of the studio audience asked him questions about anything…and I do mean anything! Segments of that filming are scheduled to air on the Outdoor Life Network Friday evenings during the month of March. Check your local listings for details on air times or visit the OLN web site. I think you’ll find the show both interesting and perhaps thought provoking.
As I listened to Ted spew forth his thoughts on everything from why all sportsmen should be a member of the NRA…to writing letters to public officials, etc. it dawned on me that here is a man who is openly proud to be a hunter…and isn’t ashamed to admit it. Granted, I can certainly see the merit in some of Nugent’s detractors who claim the guy often goes over the top and can at times be embarrassing to all of us…but let’s face it. Here’s a guy who passionately wears his sportsman’s colors on his sleeve and attempts to promote the outdoors in the most positive way he knows how. I can point to few others I know who can command an immediate audience as quickly as Nugent. Just looking around the room there were folks across all ages as this guy has some cross-generational appeal seemingly to everyone.
Like it or not, Ted is one of our sport’s leading spokespersons promoting his pro-hunting, pro-outdoors, pro-America spiel to a larger audience than perhaps anyone else within our ranks can accomplish. He admits to doing numerous interviews each week where his message is colorfully driven home to thousands, if not millions of people over the course of a year. Our sports need that kind of message being delivered to the general public…even if you don’t like the exact manner in which it is communicated by Ted.
Former Wyoming Senator Malcolm Wallop once stated, “Ted Nugent is a hunter who just happens to be a rock star, not a rock star who happens to be a hunter. What most impressed me about Ted is his commitment to the real America. His message is clear. He cares about our country…and he leads by example…He is a cheerleader for the real, hard working, law abiding folks of America.”
Through the years I have listened to many of the critics who speak ill of Ted and what they call his “rants” that border on acting downright foolish. That may be true. But I take my hat off to Ted for standing up for what he believes, which I think parallels, for the most part, what most of us law-abiding sportsmen also believe. We don’t have the same charisma as Ted, we don’t have the same “in your face” personality as Ted, heck…most of us don’t even have the balls to pick up the phone and call our legislators when they need to hear from us pertiaing to important issues. Ted does. He proudly proclaimed there isn’t a politician who represents him that doesn’t know exactly how he feels on most outdoor issues that may have political ramifications.
If you haven’t done so already I urge you to tune in and watch one of Ted’s upcoming TV shows. Certainly they are entertaining…at times they can be down-right disgusting…but don’t overlook the fact that his subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) message can also be thought-provoking. You don’t have to agree with everything the man says…hey, I don’t even agree with most of the things my hunting and fishing partners proclaim from time to time. Yet, you have to appreciate the fact here is a man who has devoted the second half of his life to “singing” the praises of the American sportsman…and doing so in a manner that only the Motor City Madman knows how.
Uncle Ted, if I was a citizen of Michigan you most definitely would have my vote for governor! Ooops! Did I just let the cat out of the bag and spoil it for one of his upcoming TV shows? I guess you’ll have to tune in to find out for sure.
© 2006 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction without Prior Permission.