On March 20, the latest class of Wyoming Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center in Cody. The inductees are Richard Guenzel, who developed an aerial line transect technique to more accurately predict pronghorn populations; Duaine Hagen, an outfiiter who is active in the Outdoor Dream Foundation and the Wounded Warrior Project; and my friend Helen Roylance.
Helen was the Game and Fish’s coordinator for hunter and outdoor skills at the time. She was the first woman to ever hold that position. She also brought the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program to Wyoming. When I called her over the weekend to congratulate her on being inducted into the Hall of Fame, I asked her about the BOW program. She said the only thing keeping many women out of the field is simply opportunity. It’s certainly not a lack of desire to hunt, fish, or do other outdoor activities. And with the BOW program, participants can sign up with friends, so they can have some familiar faces to learn with.
Helen’s position also involved running the hunter education program. That gave her a great opportunity to introduce thousands of kids to the outdoors, but that wasn’t enough for her. She also ran the Outdoor Recreation Education Opportunities program, also known as OREO. Through OREO, she provided curriculum to schools throughout the state to teach kids about the outdoors and the opportunities available to them.
I was fortunate enough to shoot with Helen on a trap team for several years. Even after she retired from Game and Fish, she never stopped teaching. She helped me improve my shooting each week, and I eventually shot a perfect round with her help. I’m so glad she’s being inducted to the Hall of Fame. It’s a well-deserved honor.