Column: The 2000 "Don Q" Awards for those who deserve them

-- The Most Painful Experience: The broken tailbone I suffered when thrown from a horse this summer. Three months of heavy-duty pain pills, sleeping pills, constant ice packs, doctor visits, X-rays and sitting on soft pillows was no fun.

-- Best Friend: My close companion, that wonderful, soft pillow I sat on while recovering from the broken tailbone. The two of us became very close and very well known in Western Nevada during those three months.

-- Best Deal of The Year: Being able to transfer to 2001, my pre-paid, round-trip Alaska Airline Ticket and my pre-paid, four-day, three-night stay at a fishing lodge in Sitka. I could not this year due to my injury.

-- Thumb of The Nose: Those former "friends" who accompanied me on the horseback ride when I got hurt and who never contacted me to check on my status. True! I hope that their next horseback ride is as painful as the last one was for me.

-- Biggest Loss: The untimely death of my long time close friend, fishing partner, traveling companion and television show co-host, Jim McGee on May 31. He had developed a very rare but fatal disease that affects only one person out of every one million. "Jimbo" will always be deeply missed.

-- It's Hard To Be Humble: Norm Budden, Don Hettrick, Bob "Slick" McCulloch" and yours truly for winning seven of the top 10 awards in the annual John Riordan Invitational Fishing Derby. It was headquartered at the Topaz Lodge at Topaz Lake.

-- My Favorite Pigeons: Who else. My long time fishing partners, Norm Budden, Marty Martinez and Bob "Slick" McCulloch. It would be a lonely, miserable life if I did not have those three "patsies" around. They are so easy that it is not even a challenge to pick on them, poke fun at them or win some outrageously easy "Sucker" bets. Geez, I hope they each live to be 200 years old!

-- Up, Up and Away: The hot air balloon ride that I took as a media representative for the Nevada Appeal, together with Craig Swope of Carson Access Television. The ride took place during the Great Reno Balloon Race in September. It was an awesome and unforgettable experience on a gorgeous day.

-- Worst Time Keeper of The Year: Alan Rogers of the Nevada Appeal. He told Swope and I to be at the Great Reno Balloon Races at 5 a.m. on Media Day. No one else arrived until 6:30 a.m., 1.5 hours later. Hmmm, I wonder if Rogers was operating on Central Daylight Time?

-- Please Don't Give Up Your Regular Job: Craig Swope for his off-key singing while listening to "easy listening" music on my radio when the two of us were waiting in my pickup to take the hot air balloon ride. That 1.5 hour was the longest three weeks of my life!

-- Best Breakfast Experience: Creekside Deli, right here in Carson City. Bart and Terri Cantua are the owners. Their restaurant has an awesome combination of nice location, great cooks, great service, very tasty food and enjoyable eating companions. Plus everyone in the place always loves to pick on me.

-- Best Manhattan Cocktail: Not even close. It's at Thurman's Ranch House on Highway 50 East. They make a great tasting, double Manhattan called "The Quilici Manhattan." The next time you are out there, order one. It is awesome but be careful. If you are not used to drinking a double Manhattan, it will knock your socks off! I guarantee it.

-- Biggest, Messiest and Tastiest Cheeseburger: Again, not even close. It's at Woody's Diner on South Carson Street. I guarantee there is no way on earth you can eat one of those huge, drip-on-your-plate, lip-smacking, finger-licking creations with only one napkin. It is impossible!

-- World's Biggest Parking Lot: South Carson Street on the afternoon of Friday, Nov. 3. NDOT decided to do a paving job, all in one day, without regard to the impact on the traveling public. The result was a massive slowdown and stoppage of all southbound traffic. NDOT was probably removed from many Christmas card lists for that P.R. fiasco!

-- Best Hideaway Location: Bob Leutzinger's small, two-story cabin, located in Willow Flat, just north and west of Bridgeport, Calif. Great location, accommodations, company, scenery, weather, food, appetizers, drinks, music, dancing and trout fishing. How could you ever improve on that winning combination?

-- Best Experience of The Year: The large, jet-black, sleek-looking black bear that walked across the Hoover Wilderness Area hiking trail, right in front of yours truly and Elaine McGee. It didn't notice us, as it slowly ambled across the trail, through the trees and up the ridge.

-- Best Fishing of The Year: Fremont Lake in the Hoover Wilderness Area of California. Awesome fishing from a small, inflatable raft for wild rainbow trout, up to 18 inches. It was done by slowly trolling silver flasher blades, with either black/gold or black/silver Rapala lures.

-- I Don't Trust You: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which is proposing the re-introduction of Lahontan cutthroat trout into the Carson and Walker River systems. That re-introduction carries with it the possibility of eradication (AKA killing, destroying, slaying, snuffing, etc.) of existing rainbow and German brown trout in those rivers. Keep a sharp eye on those dudes!

-- Who's Catching Who: The "Infamous" Nitro Worms. They are artificially colored with something that glows in the dark and are reported to be sure-fire fish catchers. Yeah, right! The only thing that got caught was yours truly when I bought 12 of them for $3.75. I hate those worms.

-- Best Throw of The Year: Jim Quilici for the spectacular, long-distance toss of his fishing net and Rapala lure at Wildhorse Reservoir. The lure and net were hopelessly tangled, he tried to untangle that unholy mess, finally lost his temper and threw them as far as he could out into the water. It was awesome to see.

-- Best Retriever: Elaine McGee. When we went pheasant hunting with Gunny and Ingrid Benson and their two "hunting" dogs. Those miserable mutts had no idea of how to retrieve a down bird. Elaine finally had to go into the tules to locate and retrieve the only pheasant shot that day. She doesn't heel too well, yet, but, boy oh boy, she sure can retrieve.

-- Dumb and Dumber: Benson's two black labs, "Bear" and "Tyson." On our recent pheasant hunting trip, when Elaine brought back the pheasant and showed it to the two dummies. One of them ran away in fear and the other one tried to eat the bird. It's true! Anyone want to buy a would-be "retriever" - cheap?

-- Thanks for The Weekly Info: All of my contacts who very graciously provided me with detailed, weekly fishing reports for each of their areas. All the way from Shasta County in Northern California to Crowley Lake in the Bishop area to Wildhorse Reservoir in Northern Nevada. They made my fishing reports easy to provide every week.

-- Special Thanks: All the faithful readers of the weekly "Outdoor Page." You are the best!

-- Special Thanks: All the folks at the Nevada Appeal, who help bring the "Outdoor Page" to you each and every Wednesday. Thanks gang.

-- Very Special Thanks: Rhonda Costa-Landers and Rick Gunn at the Nevada Appeal for all of their invaluable help and advice. My buddies!

-- Have a Happy New Year and best wishes for 2001.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment