Fifty years ago this summer, Larry Dablemont started at Missouri’s Houston Herald as the paper’s first outdoors columnist. To mark a monumental half-century as a journalist and author, Dablemont has filled a June column with tender professional memories.
When Dablemont originally chose to tackle journalism, he was well-known in the area as a Big Piney River fishing guide. He started in that capacity at age 12 and explains that it was through those activities that he met his future newspaper mentor:
When I began that job of writing weekly outdoor columns at the age of 17, it was to become something far greater than I could have ever dreamed. Never has a week passed since June of 1965 that one or more of my newspaper columns on the outdoors has not appeared somewhere and when you consider my lack of writing talent, that is amazing… to me at least.
Over the years, I’ve written more than 4000 columns appearing in more than two hundred different newspapers in five or six different states. I figure I have sold about 700 feature articles to outdoor magazines. I sold my first magazine article when I was 19 and a year later wrote my first article for Outdoor Life about a wooden johnboat I had used for many years on the Big Piney River, a story entitled “Old Paint,” which won a national award in 1973.
There is a bittersweet undercurrent to Dablemont’s recollections. Towards the end of the column, he notes that 50 years of modern-age progress have been very unkind to the area’s rivers and springs.
The columnist also speculates that one of the reasons his current syndicate group of 30 newspapers is limited to three local states is that ‘editors [in Los Angeles or New York or Chicago] would dump my best work in the trash can!’ Their loss.
[Image via: larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com]