'Bone Collector' coming to Charleston
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- One of outdoor television's most prominent celebrities is coming to Charleston this weekend to talk with kids.
Michael Waddell, star of the Outdoor Channel's "Bone Collector" hunting show, will conduct a youth-oriented hunting seminar for Charleston's Beyond the Backyard organization Saturday at the Municipal Auditorium.
Waddell said he's looking forward to returning to West Virginia, especially for an event geared toward youngsters.
"I make a lot of appearances, but rarely do I get to participate in an event dedicated solely to kids," said the 35-year-old native of Booger Bottom, Ga. "I think it's great what Beyond the Backyard is doing for young people, and I'm excited to be part of that."
During the event, Waddell will hold forth on the subject he knows best -- hunting.
"I want to talk with the kids and get them fired up about being in the outdoors," he said. "I'll mainly concentrate how much fun it is to spend time in the outdoors. I'll probably bring some kids up on stage, do some different stuff with them, share with them my perspective on why it's so much fun."
Waddell said he plans to bring his 7-year-old son, Meyer, to the seminar.
"It sounded like such a fun event I decided to bring him along," Waddell said.
Waddell wants to bring the same lighthearted approach to the seminar as he and his co-stars bring to their television show.
"We show our mistakes, we laugh at each other and make fun of each other," he said. "Our motto is, 'If you can't have fun, stay at home.'"
After his presentation, Waddell plans to remain onstage to chat with youngsters and to sign autographs.
The seminar will mark Waddell's second West Virginia appearance in the last couple of weeks.
"We were up in Wheeling for a promotion at the Cabela's store," he said. "Before that, I was in Africa, bowhunting for Cape buffalo."
Waddell said it had always been one of his dreams to kill a Cape buffalo -- one of Africa's "Big Five" dangerous game animals -- with bow and arrow.
"There are two animals I've wanted to take with a bow, and now I've gotten one of them," he said. "The other is an Alaskan brown bear, and I hope someday to get the chance to cross that off my 'bucket list.'"
Chasing dangerous game hasn't yet dampened Waddell's enthusiasm for hunting other species. He said hunting turkeys in West Virginia is also something he'd love to do.
"I'm just dying to come up there and hunt," he said. "Every time I visit there, I see those big hardwood forests, and I think about how much fun it would be to hunt in those hills and hollows and call in a big old eastern gobbler."
Beyond the Backyard founder Bobby Warner said his organization is "ecstatic" to have Waddell headline one of their events.
"There's no question that Michael is the kingpin of the outdoor industry right now," Warner added. "When you go to national shows, people will stand in line three hours just to get his autograph. We're ecstatic to have him here and to have our organization's name connected with his."
Warner believes Waddell's message will fit in perfectly with Beyond the Backyard's goal, which is to get young people interested in hunting, fishing, camping, hiking and other outdoor activities.
"We try to be the voice of what's going on with youth in the outdoors," Warner said. "Through our events, our contests, our Facebook posts and our email blasts, we try to get kids interested and involved.
"I think we're succeeding, too. Earlier this year we surpassed the 10,000-member mark. We're still strictly a West Virginia-based organization, but thanks to the Internet we now have members in 21 states."
Warner said Waddell's seminar would begin at 6 p.m. Saturday. Doors to the Municipal Auditorium will open at 5 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults, but is free for young people age 17 and under. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster outlets as well as at the door.
Reach John McCoy at firstname.lastname@example.org or 304-348-1231.