TV 'Divas' Show Women Novices A Way Outdoors
07:50 PM CST on Wednesday, March 22, 2006
USA Today tabbed them as cultural pioneers. They're starring in the first all-women's television show airing on, ironically enough, The Men's Channel. Each broadcast brings new women recruits to outdoor sports as old as mankind.
That's the way Judy Rhodes wants it. The Dallas resident and lifelong outdoors enthusiast hosts Divas in the Outdoors with Pearl Silvey of Wolfe City, Texas. Silvey is a relatively new convert to all things outdoors. She's a city girl who moved to the country. Rhodes is a country girl who lives in the city.
They'll be there Saturday when Texas Women's Shooting Sports, also known as Texas Divas, hosts the 2006 Ladies Spring Shooting and Outdoors Clinic at Elm Fork Shooting Park, 10751 Luna Road, Dallas. The $25 registration fee includes lunch and ammunition. Participants furnish their own ear and eye protection.
At the clinic, women can learn about handguns, shotguns, archery and fly-fishing. Guns, ammo and gear are donated by Smith & Wesson/Walther, Charles Daley, Orvis and Martin Archery. Jeanie Almond and other Elm Fork pros will teach women to use shotguns. Michael Plaxco is the guest instructor in handguns.
Divas in the Outdoors is the latest maneuver in what can best be described as a crusade by Rhodes to get more women involved in hunting and fishing. Rhodes is founder and director emeritus of Texas Divas. Until last year, she'd never done a television show, but Rhodes and her husband, Sam, had worked with film crews to document some of their worldwide adventures.
"I'd been on camera in those family productions and I'd watched how the pros operated the cameras," Judy Rhodes said. "I figured I could do that."
The show started in September, originally airing Mondays and Fridays. It was such a hit that The Men's Channel, 218 on Dish Network, switched Divas in the Outdoors to better time slots – 10 a.m. Saturdays, 5:30 p.m. Mondays.
I don't have a satellite system, but Rhodes sent me two segments of the show. One featured deer hunting in South Texas. The other was a speckled trout fishing show filmed at Sabine Lake, near Port Arthur.
Divas in the Outdoors won't appeal to everyone, particularly men experienced in hunting and fishing. The women sometimes wear pink caps, giggle a lot and occasionally act downright silly.
The show is a hit, however, with the women who make up Divas in the Outdoors' target audience. Rhodes had never fished on the coast before filming the Sabine Lake segment. Her fishing guide taught her to cast with a spinning reel, and the instructions were very good for any novice angler.
The deer hunting show included a lot of basic information about the need for managing deer herds through harvest of doe deer and management bucks that do not qualify as "trophy" animals, though all deer are trophies of the heart.
Divas in the Outdoors' sponsors include companies like Foxy Huntress, a Texas-based business that makes stylish hunting clothes for women. More than 6 million American women are involved in outdoor sports, and Rhodes is on a mission to greatly expand that number.
"We got 20 new members from one show alone, and we got over 50 members from the story in USA Today," Rhodes said. "We've got invitations to do shows from so many people, we've already got three years' worth of places to go for filming.
"We get e-mails and letters from women who are encouraged to try something new, and they even tell us that their husbands are asking them to watch the show. I really think that women are the key to protecting hunting, fishing and shooting sports for the next generation."