Let me ask you this. Can you name the Honorary Chairman and Spokesperson for the National Hunting And Fishing Day for the past several years? Seriously…think about it for a moment. During the last five years can you even name three of the folks who have served as the national cheerleader of sorts for this decades old event. Heck, if you’re like me…can you even name a handful of personalities who have served in this celebrity role since way back in 1972 when this P.R. concept first got started?
I’m sad to say this event just has never made much of an impact on my life…and I’m guessing that it gets largely overlooked by a good many sportsmen who may admit to hearing of the event, but surely don’t know much about it or get involved with it. Actually it is quite sad, because this grassroots effort occurs every year on the fourth Saturday of September so there are no excuses, yet the only nationally recognized “holiday” of sorts, that celebrates being a sportsman in America is not embraced the way it should be.
Maybe things will change this year. I’m hoping so, anyway. When I stated that NHF Day has become a joke I was actually stating that a bit tongue in cheek. You see, this year’s spokesperson is none other than everybody’s favorite redneck comedian, Jeff Foxworthy. Foxworthy will become the latest volunteer celebrity to promote not only the event, but also to help spread the message why hunting and fishing are vital activities in our modern world.
I must say, however, that I am slightly troubled by Foxworthy’s appointment to this role. First off, I love his unique comedic style and have most of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour DVD’s. Not only that, I have gone to hear him perform in person. Needless to say I am highly entertained by his antics on stage.
On the flip side of the coin, however, Foxworthy’s hunting DVDs are very cute and yes, downright funny at times…but much of that humor pokes fun at the stereotypical hunter who often acts…well, shall we say not very sophisticated in the woods. Don’t get me wrong, I understand that when you mix comedy and the outdoors that is the sort of result you will get. Still, when I view these types of videos I can’t help but wonder if the antics doesn’t just help to perpetuate “common held beliefs” among the non-hunting public that we all must, in fact, actually behave this way. Hunters are just a bunch of nimrods who can be described as dim-wits.
That’s why I have some mixed feelings about Foxworthy after hearing he is now the national spokesman during 2007 for the sports I love. It’s certainly an honor that he serves in this role and gives so generously of his time…but from a pure P.R. standpoint is he really the best celebrity that our sports could find to represent our national heritage? Perhaps not that it really matters…my guess is he will do much the same as his predecessors and not make a real name for himself in that all-important role.
Nevertheless, 2007 is the year that Jeff Foxworthy champions the cause and will lead the nation in celebrating a rich heritage of being a sportsman. In the end I’m sure he will do a stand-up job, much like those other fine individuals who have served before him. I just can’t help the feeling by wondering if a very popular comedian who brands himself as a “redneck” is truly the best person to represent my beloved sports in such a high-profile manner.
What are your thoughts on this? First off, does the NHF Day get much play in your part of the country? It really doesn’t as far as I can tell here in Minnesota. Furthermore, do you have any qualms about Foxworthy serving in this honorary capacity?
© 2007 Jim Braaten. All Rights Reserved. No Reproduction Allowed Without Prior Permission.