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John Adkins Remembered

Johnadkins2My phone rang shortly after getting into work this morning and the news I received hit me like a slap in the face. I guess even now I'm still a little in shock. John Adkins, 55, passed away early this morning, marking a huge loss for his family and friends and a big loss to the turkey hunting community as well. News of his passing came just days after I attended a funeral for a woman my wife and I know who also passed much too young.

Most of you have probably never heard of John, but if you are a fan of outdoor television, most notably, any of the turkey hunting or land management shows produced by the NWTF, then you are familiar with his work. You see, John has been involved with those programs--Turkey Call, Turkey Country and Get in the Game--since the Federation first decided to get into the TV game.

I met John at a meeting just before they began filming for the first season of Turkey Call back in 1998. I had just started working at the Federation as managing editor of Turkey Call magazine. I got to know him over the years as we worked together on the programs and in producing the live shows during the NWTF's national convention each year. He was a funny guy who would talk your ear off, but he'd also give you the shirt of his back and had a heart as big as gold. He was often seen with a cell phone to his ear, which makes the picture of him appropriate. John could also take a joke and give one back. And he had a wonderful family. His youngest daughter Emmi, who I learned had just started college, used to baby sit my daughter. My thoughts are with her and the rest of her family right now.

The NWTF released a statement today concerning his untimely passing, which you can read by clicking on the continued link below. Meanwhile I'll keep his family and friends in my prayers and I ask that you do the same. John, you'll be missed buddy. Happy trails.

Statement from the NWTF on the Passing of John Adkins

It is with great sadness that the National Wild Turkey Federation announces the death of John Adkins, the organization’s Video Service Director.

To John’s wife, Vikki, and his daughters, Nikki and Emmi, the NWTF offers its deepest sympathy.
John, who began his television career in the early 1970s, was one of the first to shoot and produce hunting shows and has been a part of the outdoor television industry since its inception. He understood the business of television well and thrived in the intensity of orchestrating live shows and network feeds.

He began shooting and editing the NWTF’s Turkey Call television in 1998. A year later, he designed and built the organization’s television production studio. In 2000, he made the move to South Carolina from his home state of Oklahoma to officially join the NWTF staff. Another television program, Turkey Country, followed Turkey Call three years later. Get in the Game, the NWTF's latest show, was created in 2004. John also produced the live morning and evening shows at the NWTF’s national conventions.

An Oklahoma native and 1971 graduate of the University of Oklahoma’s College of Liberal Arts, John began his career in upstate New York as a radio announcer for WGMF-AM in Watkins Glen, and WXXY-FM in Montour Falls. From there, he moved back to Oklahoma where, over the years, he directed live newscasts, live and taped shows in studio and in the field, as well as commercial and in-house production for Oklahoma City’s KWTV 9. He spent a few years in the 80s managing KSPN TV 23 in Aspen, Colorado, where he also created special snow-skiing programs unique to the area. In 1983, he founded his own film and video production company, Red Mountain Productions, Inc., with his wife, Vikki. There, he traveled with the U.S. Ski Team shooting video

To the NWTF family, beyond the legacy John has left behind as the group’s pioneer TV man, he was much more. You could always hear him coming, clomping down the halls in his heavy, old boots.

John’s office was near the Lance machine, where he kept quarters for co-workers with empty pockets. He was generous. Always. He loved his red wine and he was guilty of making the coffee too strong. He knew how to smoke great salmon and make hot barbeque sauce. He laughed often.

He was, at heart, an Oklahoma son, a motorcycle enthusiast, an outdoorsman, a hunter, a conservationist and a family man. 

In fact, he was a good man. And he will be deeply missed.

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