A couple years ago, I fished for halibut in Alaska with Christina Holden, and our friends Louis and Ruth Cusack. Christina and I were taking a quick break from the annual black bear hunt we put on for military veterans. Both of us serve on the Alaska Healing Hearts board of directors. On that fishing trip, we met Christine Cunningham and her good friend, Steve Meyer. Fishing was good, the ocean was rock and roll friendly, and we carried delightfully heavy coolers of fish from the boat to our vehicles.
Afterward, I learned more about Christine Cunningham. An amazing lady. Born in Sitka, Alaska (a real native, which is rare nowadays) she is a passionate hunter, especially ducks, and writes regularly about the outdoors. Her first book, WOMEN HUNTING ALASKA, profiles many of Alaska's most outstanding female hunters. She also writes humor, and does it very well. No, I should say she does it incredibly well. Those articles appear in the Alaska Sporting Journal and The Redoubt Reporter.
Her blog, YOGA FOR DUCK HUNTERS, is the finest outdoor work I've seen by a female journalist, ever. This lady is a wordsmith. As you read her posts, you'll be there with her in the ocean, the mountains, the tundra. You'll hear the waves crashing, smell the salt, and see the ducks flash by. You can see for yourself by reading her blog. Trust me, you'll be as impressed as I am.
These photos show Christine in the element she knows and loves, outdoors with Steve and their dogs.
So it was no surprise when I learned she won the Prois Award of the Year, which is presented to a woman who excels in the hunting world. I'm no stranger to Prois, which today is the only women's camo apparel out there. Conceived and owned by Kirstie Pike, who lives in the beautiful Gunnison, Colorado area, this technical hunting and field apparel is made with fabric designed for performance and functionality. I met Kirstie and her husband, Steve, more than 20 years ago. Steve, his brother and Dad ran a remote high country wilderness elk camp. Many memories shared around that campfire. Those were among my very favorite horseback hunts.
In 2008, Kirstie, an Emergency Room nurse, launched Prois Hunting and Field Apparel. "We started the company basically due to the lack of performance-based womens gear in the hunting market." Kirstie said. Today, this line of clothing is taking over the industry by storm. Unfortunately, being of the wrong gender, I don't wear it. Lol But the women who do, can't quit raving about it, and, being of the wrong gender, most of us guys know that it is not only functional, but it looks really fine on the other gender.
2008, I filmed Christina Holden for my TV show while she hunted mule deer near Gunnison with Steve Pike. Here she and Kirstie are posing with Christina's buck. The ladies are wearing the first-ever Prois prototype clothing.
Christine Cunningham will receive her Prois Award at the SHOT Show coming up in Vegas in a few weeks. The award will be presented in the Prois booth Tuesday afternoon at 4:30 in booth 10223. Come by and see her and meet the folks. I'll be there as well. And there will be cold liquid refreshments and other goodies. Thank you, Steve Pike! And, you'll also meet other Prois winners from the past, including my good pal, Ruth Cusack, another Alaska lady who is a fanatical hunter. And that's another story...