What started in 1972 in the back of Harold Knight’s barber shop in Cadiz grew into the most successful and world-recognized entity to eminate from Trigg County, Kentucky.
And while Knight and partner David Hale are proud – and certainly deserve to be – of what they’ve accomplished over the years, you might mistake them for just garden variety hunting enthusiasts if you met them and didn’t know any better.
I visited with the two Friday at their visitor’s lodge west of Cadiz. In over an hour of listening to their stories and memories of running the business, I was entertained by a number of stories that I didn’t have room for in the story.
Some were from the business side. In one instance, Knight and Hale were on a visit to Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., and while displaying some of their new items, the right Wal-Mart executive just happened to walk by.
His excitement level was obvious, and after seeing an item David had developed (a map/calendar combo that showed turkey activity for any time of year and location in the United States), the executive said to his co-worker, “You’re going to buy this, aren’t you?”
Another Wal-Mart story involves a face-to-face encounter with Sam Walton which you can find in the story.
Perhaps the more interesting of the stories, however, were those involving the numerous celebrities and sports personalities the duo has met and hunted with over the years.
Harold said there is only one famous individual he can recall being disappointed by after hunting with them – a certain catcher from Cincinatti.
Aside from him, it’s a long list of famous people to whom Knight and Hale can boast a connection.
– Former home run king Roger Maris, who briefly stored a shotgun in Knight’s barber shop in between hunts in the area.
– Hank Williams, Jr., who nearly caught fire during a pickin’-and-grinnin’ session for Knight and Hale’s television program.
– Coaxing concessions from Bob Knight on the University of Kentucky’s most recent national championship season, including perhaps the only positive comments Knight has ever given about John Calipari.
What struck me most, though, was that through all of their success, these encounters have occurred naturally. Harold and David are genuinely humble people who have made no effort to take advantage of the situation Knight & Hale Game Calls has put them in.
The same can be said of their relationship with national media, which is a big part of their success. They made a point to never ask a writer when a story on them would be published, and as a journalist myself, I can tell you that’s an immediate plus.
Friday was my first real opportunity to sit and talk with David, but talking with him seemed as natural as could be.
The same is true of Harold, with whom I’ve had the pleasure to spend a great deal of time on the sidelines of Trigg County High School football games while I take photos and he shoots video. He always seems to have a new story about playing softball with my dad, who he calls the best softball shortstop he’s ever seen.
The gist of the feature story should be – and this is a lesson to pass down to our local youth – that a person can live their dream regardless of their location. We live in a small community, but that shouldn’t stop anyone from setting a lofty goal and believing they can reach it.
Knight and Hale did that. And even better, it didn’t change the kind of people they are.
Justin McGill is general manager of The Cadiz Record and can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.