C.B. Thompson Jr. of North Little Rock founded Fort Thompson Sporting Goods, a legendary outpost for hunters across Arkansas. Under Thompson, a lifelong aficionado of bass fishing and duck hunting, what began as a grocery and general store in Rose City in 1931 has transformed into a retail haven for hunters and fishermen. Fort Thompson continues to thrive today as 19,000-square-foot destination for outdoorsmen along Warden Road in Sherwood.
Kim Ward took over the pioneering aluminum boat manufacturing facility started by his father and his uncle at the close of World War II and led it to national prominence, first as Duracraft Boats then as War Eagle Boats. Ward paced the company through changes and trends in recreational fishing needs and those of water-connected hunting, often developing effective new features in the shallow water boats. Ward led the Modern Aluminum Derby (MAD) in 1972 to help expose Arkansas water and fishing resources through participating media to a nationwide audience.
Ross Whipple, The Ross Foundation: As chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Arkadelphia-based foundation, Whipple has overseen donations of millions of dollars in support of forestry research and conservation management as well as education, historical preservation and other worthwhile causes.
A legend in the flyfishing ranks, Whitlock is a lifelong student of fish habits and habitat. He researches, analyzes, innovates, teaches and participates in all aspects of the sport, and he writes, and illustrates his findings.
Randy served on the founding board of the Arkansas Nature Conservancy and later served as a board chairman. He served two terms on the Arkansas Pollution Control and Ecology Commission and as a chairman was instrumental in developing regulations for in stream mining, the protection of the undammed upper Saline watershed and the start of the White River minimum flow campaign. He has been in leadership roles with the Foundation for two decades.
Dr. Doyne and Nancy Williams
Dr. Doyne and Nancy Williams of Little Rock are All-American competitive trapshooters, winning hundreds of state, regional and national championships. Both are members of the Arkansas Trapshooting Hall of Fame and the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame. Doyne was a noted cardiovascular surgeon at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and St. Vincent Infirmary, while Nancy worked as a clinical nurse specialist in cardiovascular disease.
Steven N. Wilson
Passage of the 1/8th of one percent sales tax capped an illustrious 20½-year career as director of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission, one of the longest tenures in the nation. Solid achievements in wildlife and its use are also his legacies.
Forrest L. Wood
A former White River and Bull Shoals Lake fishing guide, he developed the modern bass boat. Wood’s Ranger boat operation grew hand in hand with the emergence of tournament bass fishing and safe, efficient travel on the water.
Young joined the Arkansas Natural Resources Commission as an entry-level water resource engineer in 1971; just four years later he was deputy director/chief engineer and was appointed executive director in 1985, a post he would hold under five governors over the next 31 years. Among his many accomplishments was working hand-in-hand with conservation groups to fight erosion, floodwater and sediment damage that threatened fragile ecosystems.