Outdoors

As seen on TV: Kansans star in outdoors programs

Cable and satellite television systems now give us access to outdoors-related programs 24 hours a day.

Amid the scores of shows, we see hunters doing everything from facing charging elephants in Africa to catching bullfrogs in Kansas.

After years of television exposure, some of these hosts have become the rock stars of the hunting and fishing industry.

Several well-known hosts are Kansans.

Kelsey Konrade

"Bass Pro Shops' Next Generation," Outdoor Channel (Cox Ch. 258)

The well-traveled Konrade could have written the best "What I did on my summer vacation" papers in Kansas high school history.

She spent many of her summers and weekends doing things most avid outdoorsmen dream about.

Since 2005, Konrade, 18, has been a co-host on "Bass Pro Shops' Next Generation."

The show specializes in following young hunters and anglers. It's designed to encourage teens and pre-teens to try the outdoors while being filmed in a way that makes the show appealing to all ages.

Bass Pro Shops officials, including John Morris and Jerry Martin, met Konrade while on guided deer hunts with her dad, Larry. Martin approached the Konrades when the show was first planned. She remembers the day well.

"Honestly, I was kind of scared at first. The thought of having a camera in my face and being on national TV scared me," Konrade said. "I'm so glad I said yes. I've gotten to go to a lot of awesome places."

The hunting and fishing parts of taping the shows was never a problem. Konrade was scouting world-class deer with her dad while in grade school. She was shooting doves, quail, pheasants, calling wild turkeys and shooting big deer before she hit high school.

"We were very fortunate that because of my dad's outfitting business we have good hunting for about everything down here," said Konrade, of Ashland. "We did a lot of filming here but I got to go to some great places."

Around her school commitments she managed trips to the Rockies, Mexico and a variety of eastern states.

It helped that she's a good student and that Ashland schools work on a four-day week.

"As far as a lot of hunting and fishing, that's just what we've always done," Larry Konrade said. "Her mom and I have really enjoyed the chance to go some places we might not have otherwise have gone and we know it's been great for her. It's been hectic, but our lives have always been busy and hectic."

Larry Konrade has filmed some of his daughter's programs.

Plans are for her to continue filming when she begins her freshman year at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva next month.

Konrade said she selected the college that's about 90 miles away partially so she can return home to help her dad during deer and other hunting seasons.

She'll major in business and hopes to establish a career in the hunting industry.

"I'd like to stay with Bass Pro Shops ideally, or somebody like that," she said. "Ideally I'd like to host my own show on the Outdoor Channel someday. Might as well dream big, I guess."

"Bass Pro Shops' Next Generation" airs Saturdays at 12:30 p.m., Sundays at noon and Wednesdays at 6:30 a.m.

Keith Mark

"The 4ce," Outdoor Channel

Possibly the most talked-about episode on outdoors television last year was a MacMillan River Adventures program that showed a bowhunter shooting a charging moose when it was about a yard away.

The hunter was show host Keith Mark, of Basehor. Mark hosted MacMillan River Adventures for about three years.

This year he's giving that popular show a rest and co-hosting "The 4ce."

"It all started because of Ted Nugent," Mark said. "We'd been friends for years. One day he saw some of our moose footage and told me it was the best moose video nobody'd ever seen. He encouraged me to get a show together."

The video had been shot in the Yukon on hunts with MacMillan River Adventures, an outfitting company Mark owns. Mark said the Outdoor Channel liked a pilot show he shipped, so he began the show named after his outfitting company.

He's excited about his new show, "The 4ce," which he shares with Outdoor Channel personalities Jim Burnworth and Ray Bunney.

"Each week we'll have a big dose of reality as we celebrate America's freedoms," said Mark, who is a lawyer. "We have great hunting on each show but we also highlight people who are really out there making a difference. They might be cops, they might be in the military or a biology teacher in New York who's doing great things for students."

Mark said they've been gathering video for the show for about two years, including trips to most Rocky Mountain states, Africa, Canada and across the Midwest.

A Wyandotte County native, Mark got his hunting start tagging along on quail hunts with his father.

His love for bowhunting and big-game hunting grew during his years at Kansas State and Washburn. He's best-known for his bowhunting skills and "type-A" personality.

As well as his law practice and television show, Mark will be co-hosting up to two more shows next year.

"We burn the candle pretty hard and there are some long days," Mark said. "The law practice is my real calling. It's important work but it's all fun. I figure they'll be plenty of time for sleeping when I'm done."

"The 4ce" is on Thursdays at 6 p.m., Fridays at 5:30 p.m. and Sundays at 12:30 a.m.

Craig Boddington

"Tracks Across Africa," Outdoor Channel

Through his editing, writing, television shows and DVDs, Boddington may be the best-known person in the hunting media.

As well as usually hosting two or more shows most seasons, he also appears on many episodes of others.

After being gone for many years, the Kansas native is living near Elk City. His "Tracks Across Africa" airs Sundays at 4:30 p.m.

Gene Pearcy

"On The Right Track," Pursuit Channel (DirecTV Ch. 608)

Pearcy, from Benedict, hosts three outdoors shows for the Pursuit Channel —"Gene Pearcy Outdoors," "On The Right Track" and "Nutri-Plot Advantage." One of the other shows will follow when "On The Right Track" episodes are finished.

Pearcy has been producing outdoors television shows for 17 years. Many are filmed on land he manages as a whitetail hunting outfitter.

"On The Right Track" airs Tuesdays at 5 p.m., Wednesdays at 9 a.m., Fridays at 4 p.m. and Saturdays at 10 p.m. The Pursuit Channel is channel 608 on Direct TV.

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