The Winner Is…

Coni and Randy Brooks Ammo Industry's First Couple Thirty-five years ago, when Coni and Randy Brooks bought what was then Colorado Custom Bullets, they had no business background at all; what they did have was experience in custom-loading ammo and a love of hunting, fishing and the outdoors. Today, their Utah-based company, Barnes Bullets, is one of the foremost bullet makers in the country. The couple, who met at the end of high school and have been together ever since, say that the success of their business–and relationship–is based on giving "110 percent" of themselves every day. Among their achievements in ammo making is the invention, in 1986, of the X Bullet, a unique, all-copper bullet with no lead core. This same concept was subsequently used by Barnes to develop similar bullets for muzzleloaders and pistols. But the Brookses don't just lead through innovation; they also play a leading role in wildlife conservation and the promotion of hunting and shooting. Coni served on the Utah Wildlife Board for eight years, and both Coni and Randy have served as longtime directors and former presidents of the Utah Safari Club. They are also very active in Sportsmen for Fish & Wildlife. Their efforts have helped to make Utah a premier state for hunting deer, elk and many other species. The couple's involvement comes naturally, says Coni. "Hunting and doing things in the outdoors has been a big part of our lives from the time we were small children. It is what we do and who we are. We can't imagine it being any different."
VOTE for OL 25 Readers' Choice and you'll be entered to win 1 of 5 Leatherman e55 knives! Continue to the end to find out how! Howard Robinson Consummate Volunteer Howard Robinson is a passionate shooter and a passionate volunteer. He's been teaching Hunter's Ed in Arkansas since 1983, as well as coaching shotgun to countless youths and adults. He's the Vice President of the Old Fort Gun Club, an officer for the Arkansas Trappers, and a local field director for the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance. Just about every shooting-related board and committee in the state calls Robinson a member. "If a list of Fortune 500 Volunteers were ever written," says Doug Jeanneret, U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance VP of Marketing, "Howard's name would be at the top."
VOTE for OL 25 Readers' Choice and you'll be entered to win 1 of 5 Leatherman e55 knives! Continue to the end to find out how! Lowell Baier Following in T.R.'s Footsteps As the 28th president of the Boone & Crockett Club, Lowell Baier follows in a great tradition, started by founder Theodore Roosevelt in 1887. Boone & Crockett, whose records are used by the Department of Natural Resources to measure wildlife populations, is widely known for recording the harvesting of trophy animals. However, you won't find a single trophy in Baier's Montana home. "For me, it's about the habitat as much as the hunt," he says. That isn't Baier's only connection to T.R.: He led the campaign to conserve Roosevelt's Elkhorn Ranch in North Dakota. Former Secretary of Agriculture Ed Schafer, who worked with Baier on the effort, says it took several years, but Baier was "dedicated and intense about getting the job done." Baier concurs: "I was approached by then Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton about the Elkhorn. She explained that the government had been unsuccessful in its efforts to purchase the ranch, and she thought B&C could get it done. Once I heard about it, I knew I had to lead it." Baier, named 2008 Conservationist of the Year by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, was a major force in repositioning B&C to focus on conservation and is a charter founder of the Wild Sheep Foundation.
Ken Whiting Thinking Out of the Tackle Box Over the years, Ken Whiting has designed a number of fishing rods that have combined cutting-edge science with aesthetic appeal. His models have included an all-in-one spinning/fly rod combination, known as the Tradition Series; the first integration of spectra fiber into a rod blank, known as the Spectra Series; and the first use of carbon fiber nano tubes in the epoxy matrix of a rod blank, known as the Pulsar Series. But despite his technical inventiveness, Whiting has earned just as much respect from his peers for being a humble outdoors enthusiast. His designs have improved the comfort and fishability of rods in the field. Simply put, more people are catching more fish because of his designs. Originally from the south side of Chicago, Whiting grew up bass fishing with his father in Sister Lakes, Michigan. After earning a college degree in psychology and trying out the corporate world, Whiting realized he preferred to do his own thing. In the early 1990s, he focused on improving bowling ball cores. From there, he moved on to golf shafts and worked with graphite, aluminum and titanium–materials that are well-known to anglers. Then a visit to a fishing rod facility, and a conversation about filament lining with a rod manufacturer, set his life on a different course. A trip to ICast, the annual tackle trade show, soon followed, and by the late 2000s, Whiting had started his own rod company, been awarded numerous awards for his rod designs, and even ventured into the technical realm of outdoors apparel. "I'm just an average guy," Whiting says. "Being part of the OL 25 is a heck of a compliment for a guy who has been working out of his garage for so many years." Whiting is continually working on new designs, and although he claims he's a poor fisherman, he has become one of the sport's most inventive supporters.

SPECIAL REPORT: All the votes have been counted and the recipient of the OL 25 Award is…