New Hall class fills a wide spectrum
Paige Pearce-Gore, a 22year-old world champion archer from Red Bluff who teaches outdoor skills to youngsters, is the first person to be inducted into the California Outdoors Hall of Fame in the new Movers, Shakers category.
The category attracted entrants under age 30 from across the state. Pearce-Gore not only dominated the category, but also won the most votes from the Circle of Chiefs from those already inducted into the Outdoors Hall of Fame.
Paul Bonderson Jr. of Sunol, the president of Ducks Unlimited and a renowned conservationist and supporter of youth outdoor education, and Stockton’s Jay Sorensen, who has spent more than 10,000 days on the San Joaquin Delta and was the founder of the California Striped Bass Association, also won induction.
Royal Robbins of Modesto, a noted rock climber who passed away in March, was a pioneer who made many first ascents on the big walls of Yosemite Valley. He put the ethics of climbing practices up for world debate by climbing without fixing bolts or pitons in the rocks.
Pearce-Gore, Bonderson, Sorensen and Robbins will be inducted at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at the Adventure Theater at Sacramento International Sportsmens Exposition, which starts a four-day run Thursday at Cal Expo.
Anybody can nominate a candidate for the Hall of Fame. The award is based on a vote of past winners and leaders in the outdoor industry, media and government.
According to guidelines set on www.cohof.org, all candidates must fill two requirements:
The nominees have inspired thousands of Californians to take part in the great outdoors and/or conservation;
The nominees must have taken part in a paramount scope of adventures. Here are this year’s inductees:
Paige Pearce-Gore (Red Bluff):
A world-renowned competitive archer, PearceGore is a youth outdoors instructor who has networked with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation. She won her first international competition in Turkey at age 13, and now, at 22, holds state, national and world titles. Pearce-Gore has recorded the highest score marked by a woman in the history of the sport. She won the Western Classic, the largest outdoor 3D target competition in the world, last year for the fifth time overall and fourth in a row. Using archery to travel the world, she has ventured to China, Colombia, Turkey, Germany, France and El Salvador.
She has parlayed her success, poise and ability to connect to others to become the lead instructor at the Kids Outdoor Sports Camp, which runs in four sessions in Northern California. In turn, that inspired an invitation from the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation this past fall to its annual event in Washington.
Paul Bonderson Jr. (Sunol):
The first (volunteer) president of Ducks Unlimited from California in 35 years, Bonderson is finishing his term as chairman of the board. As president of DU, he formed a link with Audubon to protect wetlands habitat and started an effort to raise $2 billion to buy and protect breeding grounds in the Northern Hemisphere. Bonderson has applied his goals to his own properties. At his 2,500-acre ranch in the Butte Sink near Colusa, for instance, Bonderson and his sons converted 1,500 acres from rice fields to wetlands, and put up 500 wood duck boxes. Bonderson has hosted and financed youth groups to take part in wildlife courses at his ranch, including for antihunting vegans. Bonderson bridged the gap between duck hunters, including those from the California Waterfowl Association, and nature lovers by acting to protect wetlands habitat that provides homes for more than 200 species of birds and dozens of species of wildlife.
Bonderson has traveled and hunted across the hemisphere and beyond, always projecting the highest sense of ethics, sportsmanship and skill. His biggest accomplishment may have been bridging the gap between duck hunters and philanthropists and corporations to gain grass-roots support with local Audubon chapters across America. He also developed relationships with the directors of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior and Department of Fish and Wildlife to support waterfowl habitat conservation and help increase waterfowl numbers across the flyways.
Jay Sorensen (Stockton):
As someone who has spent more than 10,000 days on the San Joaquin Delta, he is the rare inductee whose travels do not extend to distance reaches. He is a champion for Delta water, environmental health and fishery populations. He founded the California Striped Bass Association, which established chapters throughout the Delta and San Joaquin Valley and pushed legislation to fund and restore striped bass. Sorensen served as president of the state board for seven years and Stockton chapter president for 12, and is an Honorary Life Member. He is an active member of the West Delta Chapter in Antioch and supports this chapter’s emphasis on the catch and release of striped bass. In 2015, he received the Hal Schell Award from the Bay & Delta Yachtsman Magazine.
Sorensen is frequently aboard his boat in the Delta, as he has been for 50 years, often fishing for striped bass. He is a considered a master at anchoring and using bait, match tides, currents and migratory routes to locate fish, and has always been willing to share his knowledge with anybody. As a guide, he took thousands fishing and introduced them to his love of the Delta.
Royal Robbins (Modesto):
Robbins, who died in March at age 82, was one of the pioneers of American rock climbing. In one of his books, Robbins wrote about what drives all climbers: “a first ascent is a creation in the same sense as is a painting or a song,” and that choosing a climbing line may well be “an act of brilliant creativity.”
In 1978, Robbins developed severe arthritis that prevented him from climbing big walls. He took up wilderness kayaking and completed several first descents. With several partners, Robbins covered 32 miles with a 5,000-foot descent on the San Joaquin River from Devil’s Postpile National Monument to Mammoth Pool Reservoir. Another time, he carried his kayak over Mount Whitney Pass and traversed 55 miles through the Kern River Trench. Other landmark trips included Yosemite National Park, where he paddled the Tuolumne River from Tuolumne Meadows to Hetch Hetchy Reservoir.
Big-wall climbing pioneer Royal Robbins relaxes on the face of El Capitan in Yosemite.
This year’s California Outdoors Hall of Fame class includes (from left) archer Paige Pearce-Gore, Ducks Unlimited president Paul Bonderson Jr. and Delta fisherman Jay Sorensen.