“I have no idea,” Ralph Shaw says with a laugh when asked how many honours and awards he now has.
Shaw, who has been the Comox Valley Record’s outdoor and recreation columnist for years, recently added three more awards to his already-long list. Shaw placed third in three categories of the Northwest Outdoor Writers Association’s Excellence in Craft awards for 2012: Fishing Article-Newspaper, Hunting/Shooting-Newspaper and Column of the Year.
Shaw says he is most proud of his placement in the Column of the Year category.
“I really feel good about this one because it’s in a competition with everybody that writes about the outdoors with Northwest Outdoor Writers and so it’s a pretty broad competition; it covers magazines, newspapers, anything that’s printed in the organization,” he explains.
Shaw, who is nearly 87, adds he enters competitions like this simply because he wants to make sure his writing is still relevant to readers.
He still hunts and fishes regularly and says he feels someone who writes columns about a specialty interest area should be out there doing the activities they are writing about.
He says he used to think of 87 as being “ancient” but is now realizing it’s not, noting one of his main fishing buddies is 93.
“The average age of our (fishing) crew is 90 and what I find encouraging…is that I don’t think people should think about getting old,” says Shaw. “We live in a time when people can do whatever they want to do — whether it’s playing golf or sewing or cooking or gardening, it doesn’t matter — but society says if you’re able to do it, do it.”
Shaw was made a member of the Order of Canada in 1984 for his devotion to aquatic habitat preservation. He received a Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002 and a Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, among many other achievements over the years.
Shaw’s outdoor and recreation column runs in the Record sports section every Thursday.