Off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation not only requires access to OHV trails, areas and systems, but also people to manage and provide for the use.  As a result, NOHVCC wanted to make a small investment in the future by offering a $1,000 scholarship to an individual pursuing a career in the outdoors.  We were searching for an ideal candidate who will follow a course of study that is intended to lead to a career in recreation or land management or other related fields and who also has a passion for OHV recreation.   We believe we found a recipient who fits the bill perfectly!

Rowdy Claycomb a graduating senior from Timberline High School in Boise, Idaho is our inaugural winner!  Rowdy will attend the University of Idaho and graduated from high school with a 3.9 GPA. 

Rowdy described his career goals – “My goal post-graduation from college is to seek employment within one of the federal land management agencies somewhere in the West. My employment immediately after graduation will likely be dictated by whatever opportunities present themselves, but if I’m being totally honest my long-term goal is a position with the Bureau of Land Management.”

He got his love for the outdoors and OHV recreation honestly.  Rowdy said, “I was literally born into the OHV community. My father was the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR) OHV Program Manager for many years, and currently serves as the Recreation Bureau Chief where he supervises the Trails and Boating Programs for Idaho. Our family discusses public land recreation at our dinner table the way other families might discuss the weather or local sporting teams. Everyone in the family rides, and all of us are advocates for responsible OHV recreation.”

Rowdy is already embarking on the journey to becoming a manager, “I will be headed to Moscow, Idaho this fall where I am enrolled in the Rangeland Management program at the University of Idaho. With a little luck (and a fair amount of hard work), my goal is to parlay that education into a position within the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), United States Forest Service (USFS), or other federal land management agency.”

As ever, NOHVCC is committed to our safe and responsible use ethic.  We are happy to note that Rowdy recognizes this ethic, “I took my first OHV safety/ethics class when I was 9 years old. Some of my earliest childhood memories are of following my father through the sagebrush of the Owyhee Mountains, and family camping trips at the annual, Idaho State Trail Machine Association rides. I’ve had the good fortune to ride with some of the pillars of the OHV Community, to include Chuck Wells, Ernie Lombard, and the late Clark Collins.”

When asked, “What do you see as the biggest challenges to outdoor recreation, more specifically OHV recreation and how can land managers and enthusiasts partner to overcome these challenges?” Rowdy responded:

The primary issue I see of OHVs on public (or private) lands is one of perception.  

I believe that 80% of the people in the “middle” of any given issue are the ones to try and influence. 10% of the population love something (OHVs in this case), 10% hate them, and the remaining 80% are waiting to be influenced with data, reason, and passion. It’s the folks in the middle of the issue that will likely determine OHV use on public lands for the next generation. That’s where the issue of perception comes into play. We need to ensure those decision makers in the middle of the issue understand OHV enthusiasts share the same love of the land as they do.  

For many, the perception of OHV use is the muddy rooster-tail of an ATV in a field, an airborne 20 something rider clearing a triple, or the carnage of the first corner of a race. My perception of OHVs is one of shared family time, a first-hand appreciation of the outdoors, and friendships forged in the campfires enjoyed after a day of hard riding. My love of public lands comes from up-close and personal experience of trail rides. Those are the perceptions we need to share with the 80% in the middle. Those perceptions bind us to the middle decision makers and ensure our shared love of the lands is continued.

NOHVCC is delighted to award the scholarship to Rowdy.  His passion and grounded philosophy will no doubt serve to protect resources while providing opportunities for OHV recreation well into the future.  We wish Rowdy the best and look forward to the great things he will achieve. 

Finally, we were thrilled to receive numerous applications for the scholarship, all of which were from future stars in the field of land management.  We encourage other OHV organizations, clubs and associations to offer similar scholarships if possible.  There is no doubt that there will be a need for qualified managers – let’s all do our part to help them succeed!

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