PPA Announces 2006 Industry Award Winners

Paddlesport industry awards honor service, support, environmental excellence and generosity
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(Springfield, VA) – The Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA) presented several members with industry awards honoring their service, support and environmental excellence during a ceremony held November 6, 2006, in Destin, Florida, during the Paddlesports Pro 2006 annual conference.

The Frank A. Jones Outstanding Member Award, the highest honor for a PPA member, was awarded to Trace Noel of Shenandoah River Trips in Bentonville, Virginia for his commitment to PPA and as an ongoing supporter of PPA's programs and mission. Sheryl Fox, who accepted the award on Trace's behalf, stated, “"Sam and I are truly honored, yet also humbled, to accept this award on behalf of Trace. Our lives and business have benefited from the time and effort Trace has put into PPA's leadership. His genuine love of the paddlesports industry and his concern for our environment have been evident to us.”

Joining Cheryl and her husband Sam Fox in accepting the award on Trace's behalf was Trace's long-time colleague and friend Don Roberts of Down River Canoe Company, also on the Shenandoah River. "Trace really wanted to be here to accept this award and he's thrilled to receive it. Trace is an inspiration to all of us for what we can do to protect our rivers and make a living doing what we love." PPA Executive Director Matt Menashes commented on Trace's legacy. "Trace and his partner Edith Appleton are inspirations for all paddlesports professionals. Their commitment to this industry through service on boards and committees, through financial contributions, and through support for other business owners is remarkable. Trace's leadership on the national board and in Virginia is a record of accomplishment that is truly outstanding," said Menashes.

The Ralph Stevens Vendor Partnership Award honoring exemplary service to PPA and the paddlesports industry was presented to Confluence Watersports for their contributions to the association and the industry. Confluence executives and staff have been working with PPA and the Trade Association of Paddlesports (TAPS) on industry unification, and the company has also been highly involved in developing concepts and ideas for voluntary manufacturing standards. Accepting the award on behalf of the company were Dave D'Auteuil and Buff Grubb who thanked the association for its efforts to promote the industry.

The 2006 President's Award was presented to Josh and Michelle Gray and the staff of Mohican Adventures in Loudonville, Ohio, for their generosity in hosting the 2006 and 2007 National School for Paddlesports Business. “Josh and Michelle and the staff at Mohican made the school a reality,” stated PPA President Mike Prom. "Without their help and support, we could never have put 50 students through the school in its first year."

The PPA Environmental Excellence Award was presented to Kay Henry and Rob Center for their work in establishing the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. Wenonah Canoes CEO Mike Cichanowski, who nominated Henry and Center, accepted the award on their behalf and read a letter from Kay and Rob. " Only in our wildest dreams would we have imagined how many people, agencies and organizations have felt an affinity with this project and joined to help us achieve our goal of making the Northern Forest Canoe Trail a nationally significant recreation resource in such a short period of time. Thank you this recognition from PPA."

This year's Anthony R. Gusic Good Sport Award was presented to several special individuals who pitched in to revive Wolf River Canoe & Kayak of Long Beach, Mississippi after it was devastated by hurricane Katrina in 2005. Ed Council of Canoe Kentucky in Frankfort, Kentucky, Robert “Bear” Bass of Ozark Outdoors in Leasburg, Missouri, and Jack and Esther Sanborn and the staff of Adventures Unlimited in Milton, Florida, were honored for their generosity and hard work. Presenting the award was owner and PPA board member Joe Feil who thanked the crew for all of their clean up efforts and their donations of equipment to help to get his business running once again after total devastation. Feil stated, “It is acts such as these that show the real sense of community and camaraderie in this industry and within this organization. Thanks to the help and generosity of every one of these people I have been able to open my business again. Thanks to them, I will be able to build my business back to what it was.”

The PPA also honored 20 members that have been active with the organization for 10 and 25 years.

The Professional Paddlesports Association (PPA) is the premier trade association fostering paddlesports business. PPA represents the industry's top canoe, kayak and raft renters and outfitters, retailers, manufacturers, and sales distributors. PPA's mission is to improve the value and profitability of paddlesports business.

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