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Steve McCadams (Part I)

McKenzie’s Renaissance Man

Posted 7/28/20

Growing up in McKenzie, it is commonplace to learn how to fish and hunt long before you become school age. Like most of my counterparts, I have a love for the outdoors and can think of no place …

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Steve McCadams (Part I)

McKenzie’s Renaissance Man

Posted

Growing up in McKenzie, it is commonplace to learn how to fish and hunt long before you become school age. Like most of my counterparts, I have a love for the outdoors and can think of no place better than in boat bass fishing.

Needless to say, if you are from McKenzie the name Steve McCadams brings to mind an image of a man living the dream. Growing up in his father’s store, McCadams Implement Company, he developed a love for music and being out in nature hunting and fishing.

“You could always hear a good fishing or hunting story there,” Steve said, referring to his father’s store. The business, started by Steve’s father, Doug, and uncle, Rom, was a gathering point for farmers and other men who enjoyed sharing their stories.

Doug kept bird dogs and a Labrador for hunting, and when Steve was small he had a beagle he used for rabbit hunting. He grew to enjoy hunting that involved the companionship of a dog, especially a lab. “I’ve always had a lab, and I guess always will.”

In school, he was a member of the band, but soon his interest in music expanded when he along with Kenny Melton, Ronnie Russell and Tommy McDonald formed the band “The Counts.” Steve was responsible for the trumpet and keyboard. As time progressed, Steven joined “The Authority” traveling in the Southeastern United States playing colleges and other functions. Kenny Melton joined Steve with Glynn Mebane and John Waddle to form the group.

“We kept a lot of people in McKenzie up nights practicing in Daddy’s old shop. They put up with us pretty good through the years,” Steve recalled in an interview about his musical career.

In 1976, the “The Authority” was no more as the bandmates went in different directions, some graduated, others got married and began families. Steve finished high school in 1972 and earned a biology degree from Bethel College in 1978. Through his college years, hunting and fishing still held an important role in his life. Carroll Lake and Kentucky Lake is where he spent much of his time learning to be a fisherman. This led to him starting to work as a guide in 1972.

“I couldn’t believe somebody would pay me to go hunting and fishing,” he said. Steve found his way to the Paris Landing area. “I used to live at the lake in my single days.” Soon he would give up his single days.

His duck blind was next to another man’s who happened to have a daughter who was used to living with an outdoorsman. At the time, Steve was working at Uncle Lee’s in Paris, which was a sportsman’s paradise. Linda Williams, whose father was his duck blind neighbor, came into the store Steve fell under her spell. The couple dated for several years before marrying in July 1980.

“I’m lucky, I’ve got a good wife; she puts up with me. She accepted all those crazy things (in a hunter and fisherman). She’s been very supportive of me through everything,” he added. His lifestyle was one of transition from coming home from a musical gig at 3 a.m. to waking at the same hour to start his day as a guide.

As Steve gained notoriety as a skilled guide, he found himself writing for major hunting and fishing magazines and speaking at seminars over the country about his expertise. Other sportsmen were eager to learn from his years of experience.

Steve credits his rise in the world of hunting and fishing to his friend, Tommy Akin, of Greenfield. As a part of his business, Akin Promotions, he connected Steve with writers and media in outdoor sporting publications. As his writing flourished, he was able to appear as a guest for nationally syndicated TV shows that came to the area to tape shows featuring local sportsmen.

During the months of January, February, Mark and April, Steve has kept busy traveling to Boats, Sports and Travel Shows across the country. He is there with the invitation to conduct seminars to educate and provide ideas to help other fishermen and hunters.

“That time of year they have cabin fever. They have huge events up there (northern states) and they’re yearning for information. They don’t get to do it as much because of the harsh winter season and it makes them hungry for it. I guess the less you get to do something the more you want to.”

If Steve wasn’t busy enough with his guide business, speaking engagements and writing for publications like “Sportsman’s Digest”, “Field and Stream” and “Crappie World” he took up the mantle as a television host. “In Pursuit” a syndicated series on the Outdoor Channel brought him new travels.

“Tommy opened that door for me, too,” said Steve. One of his goals for hosting the program was to not only entertain but to get children involved. He recalled, “I had a great time when my father took me fishing and hunting. A lot of kids don’t have that option. They’re hungry for the outdoors, and the sad thing is they never get the opportunity. They might like to fish and hunt if somebody just spent a little time with them.”

That soft spot for children shows the kind heart and humanitarianism of Steve McCadams. Next week we will continue the career of Steve McCadams and his venture enhances the lives of children while helping humanity.

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