I've been a writer and a storyteller since my earliest days. I've always found the way a good story captivates a listener or an audience rewarding. When that story comes from a part of life those hearing it already love, its ability to make a real impact is all the greater.
My first professional career was in journalism. I began at a weekly newspaper in Tupelo, Miss., where I learned the business from the ground up. I covered meetings of supervisors and boards of aldermen, wrote columns about high school football and photographed Christmas parades. I worked my way up the ladder through a number of stops in a number of places, eventually becoming managing editor of The Starkville Daily News, a seven-day daily in a Southeastern Conference college town.
As I'd made this climb, I'd met and married Amy Strickland, whose passion for politics was driving her own career as I chased mine.
Through her dad, my father-in-law, Cuz, I learned of an intriguing job opportunity at Mossy Oak. They were looking for a public relations and pro staff manager who could also serve as an in-house writer. The person would work with the outdoor media and with the quarterly magazine the company published at the time, and assist with voice-over and on-screen copy for the TV episodes and retail videos the company produced. It was a job that wore, and gave away, many hats, but I liked the opportunity it offered to begin telling stories of a different kind.
Before I was a writer, I was a reader, a passion then and always. The power of Robert Ruark and the humor of Patrick F. McManus were both qualities that inspired me. The opportunity to have a job that let me meet Jim Zumbo one day and help to craft and frame stories for Hunting the Country on TNN the next was too good to miss. The outdoors mean more to me than words or images can describe, but that doesn't mean I don't intend to try. The obsessions that tie our diverse nation of hunters together span millions of stories. These stories are powerful and moving, they're funny and heartwarming, they capture that which is best of us, and gracefully pass it on. Our ancestors told their stories by repeated word. We transmit at the speed of light. The purpose of the telling, though, is forever the same.
I came to work for Mossy Oak in the spring of 2000 and, ever since, I've been writing for the brand. Today I oversee our TV productions department and work with a driven, talented group of field producers, video editors, motion graphics artists and outdoor enthusiasts who, like me, love to see in action the power of a good story well told.
-- Kevin Tate is Vice President of Media Productions for Mossy Oak. His wife, Amy, is government relations manager for the Tennessee Valley Authority's operations in Mississippi. They have two excellent children and live in Tupelo.