WON Landing Page March 2022

The Outdoor Sportsman Awards, a Red Carpet and Donald Trump

I had a fantastic assignment during the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT): photograph the red carpet during the 16th Annual Outdoor Channel and Sportsman Channel Awards event. Am I lucky or what? Get paid while attending a ticketed event, in a glamorous theater taking photos of people many only see on television? Yes, mingling with celebrities, in a new dress, chatting with them. It would be quite an experience and fun, too. Well, 2 days before the event, a slight hiccup occurred. Donald Trump, front Republican runner for the 2016 presidential election, decided to attend. Yep, that meant the Secret Service was now involved. They had quite a few rules that needed to be followed and changes that had to be made.


The crew of Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures.

First of all, I had to leave my camera in a room inside the venue at 3 p.m. — more than a few hours before the 8 p.m. event. The Secret Service would be running a sweep of the room once everyone’s equipment was there. Not such a big deal, except I needed to photograph the Meet & Mingle ladies event at 4:30. Simple solution, I borrowed a camera.


Melissa Bachman of Winchester Deadly Passion.

Now, onto the event itself. Arriving at 5:45, along with my husband, we made our way through the metal detectors where they searched my purse and wanded us. I only created a little scene when the security guard mistook my purse for a dog. (Don’t ask.) Otherwise, off to the pressroom. Holy Cow! The 30×35  room now contained huge pieces of camera equipment, computers, microphones and boom sticks. Lucky for me, a piece of paper taped to an elevated platform showed “Women’s Outdoor News” printed on it. That would be my spot for the press conference. What?! Press conference? Although I just wanted to photograph the red carpet, a fellow photographer convinced me to stay. When would I ever get to be in a room full of media that just follow the presidential candidates? Would I ever have a chance to experience this again?


Pat & Nicole of Driven with Pat & Nicole.

Yes, I stayed, and stood, and stood, and stood, along with a room full of media. You see, we weren’t allowed to leave at all. Finally a little after 7 p.m. , 4 of us from the industry were called out to photograph the red carpet.


Lee and Tiffany Lakowsky’s show, Crush with Lee & Tiffany, was voted Best Deer Hunting show.

There were people everywhere! On the other sides of the metal detectors, people waited patiently in long lines. After getting cleared, they hugged each other, grabbed drinks and began their walks on the red carpet.


Kristy Titus of RMEF Team Elk.


Theresa and Louie Tuminaro of The Gunfather.

Having finished my photo assignment, I headed back to the pressroom. By now, the press appeared hot and stinky and there weren’t many smiling faces in that sea of journalists.  Soon, I could hear chimes ringing, signaling people to find their seats. Finally, about 30 minutes later, Secret Service agents quickly entered the room, followed by Donald Trump and his sons.


At last!

Suddenly, the room’s energy level went up, and I could feel both the excitement and tension. You see, besides the 4 of us from the outdoor industry, everyone else came from major networks. Immediately, they began bombarding Trump with the typical media banter. Shouting out questions such as, “How do you feel about the current polls?” “Did you know Ted Cruz’s numbers are…?” “How do you feel about what Rubio said?”  quickly angering him. Truth be told, those questions angered me, too.  Where were the questions about hunting, the firearms industry our second amendment rights? After about 15 minutes, he left to make an appearance on the stage at the awards.


With pushing and shoving (not me, the other media) we made our way into the theater. Honestly, we only stayed about 15 minutes. Now at 8:45, I had been involved in this adventure for more than 3 hours. I needed something to eat and had to get out of the Spanx. Who thought wearing those was a good idea?

  • About Michelle Cerino

    Michelle Cerino, aka Princess Gunslinger, entered the firearms industry in 2011 when Cerino Training Group was established. She immediately began competing in both 3-Gun and NRA Action Pistol, becoming a sponsored shooter. Michelle is currently a columnist and Managing Editor of Women’s Outdoor News, as well as Event-Staff for CZ-USA Field Sports. She also manages social media for Vera Koo and GTM Original. Michelle encourages others to step out of the comforts of home and explore.


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