Outdoors writer Clancy has emotional story to tellPublished 11:13am Thursday, April 11, 2013
For someone who has survived war, cancer and a near drowning, you might think that something like public speaking wouldn’t be too much to worry about. But for Gary Clancy, who will deliver the keynote speech at Friday’s Men’s Night at the Community Arena, talking about what he’s overcome personally, not what he’s achieved hunting and fishing, will be uncharted territory.
“I was caught a little off guard when Mick [Siems] called and said he wanted me to be the keynote speaker,” Clancy said. “I’m not bashful, but there’s a lot of stuff I’ve never talked about publicly.”
Clancy, who grew up in Albert Lea, is a nationally known outdoors writer whose demonstrations and workshops have brought him acclaim from professionals and amateurs across the country.
On Friday night, however, Clancy will focus on what’s he learned from serving in the Vietnam War, his battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in the nerves on the right side of his face and nearly drowning while fishing alone in northern Minnesota. Not only will the speech serve as another way to connect with those who enjoy his work, but it will come as another challenge in a life that has known many.
“This will be a test to see how I do with a group of people,” said Clancy. “It’s not something that scares be, it will just be something new.”
While the topic will be new, Clancy said he will be approaching the night in the same way he has with his many seminars in the past. His hope is always to leave crowds more knowledgeable with tips they can use in the field and the same will be true when he tells his personal story on overcoming life’s obstacles.
“There isn’t any one message that I’m trying to carry,” Clancy said. “Hopefully by having heard how I’ve handled the adversity in my life, it will help others overcomes those in their own.”
Clancy’s participation with the annual Men’s Night, which includes two hunting seminars on Saturday, will also afford him the opportunity to reach a new audience. With this year’s event bringing a family focus on Saturday, Clancy said he hopes to welcome younger members of the audience into the world of outdoor activities that have enriched his life.
“I don’t need to preach to the choir. We need to welcome young hunters and fishermen into our ranks,” said Clancy. “Hopefully they’ll learn some things that help them in the field as well.”
Whether speaking on life or hunting, Clancy will bring his own unique sense of the world to the information he passes along. With a positive outlook and a respect for the healing and spiritual powers of the outdoors, Clancy hopes the two days will be nothing but fun for everyone who participates.
“My seminars tend to be on the humorous side,” said Clancy. “It’s hunting and fishing after all, it’s not a matter of life or death.”
Clancy’s keynote speech will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night. On Saturday, he will give a seminar on the basics of turkey hunting at noon and successful deer hunting at 3 p.m.