A Brief History of MOC

By Charlie Slovensky
Abridged and Updated by Betty Swihart and Jason Jenkins

On May 7, 1994, nine of Missouri’s outdoor communicators attended an organizational meeting at Empire Resort on the Lake of the Ozarks. Cliff Keeler arranged the meeting, which Mary and John Lipka, John Neporadny, Jr., Buck Rogers, Charlie Slovensky, Spence Turner, Mark Van Patten, Joel Vance and Bob Whitehead attended. The group formed a steering committee to publish a newsletter, set interim membership dues and coordinate an organizational meeting for Sept. 10-12, 1994. 

The name, Missouri Outdoor Communicators (MOC), was chosen for the group. The first issue of MOC Talk was distributed in June 1994. It reported the proceedings of the May 7th meeting and called for prospective members to join. The first newsletter also included a Mission Statement, written by Cliff Keeler and Charlie Slovensky, which read: 

"MOC’s mission is this: To maintain a professional organization of outdoor communicators to benefit its active members through craft improvement, sharing of knowledge and reinforcement of professional standards and goals. Further, this organization will strive to enhance the professionalism of its associate members through educational programs and mentoring." 

At the Charter Convention, held Sept. 10-12, 1994, at Kirkwood Lodge on the Lake of the Ozarks, MOC members elected Joel Vance, Chairman of the Board. Board members included Charles Davidson, Randall Davis, Jim Low and Spence Turner. Officers elected were Cliff Keeler, President; Mark Van Patten, Vice President; and Charlie Slovensky, Secretary-Treasurer. Interim bylaws were adopted and committees were established. 

On Nov. 22, 1994, several MOC members gathered at Big River Hunting Club in southwestern Jefferson County for a round of sporting clays and a winter board meeting. 

MOC held three events during the first eight months of 1995, including a mini-conference in Springfield in conjunction with Bass Pro Shops’ Spring Fishing Classic, a board meeting in Sweet Springs, and a craft improvement seminar in Springfield during Bass Pro Shops’ Hunting Classic. 

The 1995 Annual Conference was held Sept. 15-17, 1995, at the Cedar Stone Lodge in Eminence. Mark Van Patten was elected President and Monte Burch, Vice President. Cliff Keeler succeeded Joel Vance as Chairman of the Board, and Charlie Slovensky continued as Secretary-Treasurer. 

The final event of 1995 was a sporting clays event held December 14 at the Cedar Creek Rod & Gun Club near Columbia. At the board meeting following the event, MOC’s official logo, designed by Monte and Joan Burch, was accepted. 

In March of 1996, MOC held a mini-seminar and board meeting at Bass Pro Shops in Springfield, Mo. MOC’s next event would be the third Annual Conference, held in September at Bucksaw Point Resort and Marina on Truman Lake near Clinton. 

The MOC gavel was passed from Mark Van Patten to new President Monte Burch. Spence Turner was elected Vice President and Bill Cooper and Betty Swihart were elected to the Board. Charlie Slovensky gamely carried on as Secretary-Treasurer. The new MOC logo patches were introduced and sold for $5 each. Life membership plaques were awarded to Charter Chairman Joel Vance, Charter President Cliff Keeler and past President Mark Van Patten. Plans were made to publish a MOC Directory and to provide member photo ID cards. 

The final event of 1996 was a round of sporting clays on December 14, at the Cedar Creek Rod & Gun Club, followed by a board meeting. 

Bass Pro Shops once again hosted a MOC mini-conference on March 1, 1997, during the Spring Fishing Classic. The 1997 MOC Annual Conference was held at Harbortown Resort, near Mark Twain Lake. During the business meeting, Monte Burch became Chairman of the Board; Spence Turner, President; Bill Cooper, Vice President; and Randall Davis, Secretary-Treasurer. New Board Members were Danny Hicks and Larry Whiteley. 

The winter event for 1997 was a December sporting clays shoot and live bird hunt at the Big River Hunt Club in Fletcher. Another live bird hunt and sporting clays event started the 1998 MOC year at Midway Farms, near Fayette, Mo. on January 17. 

The MOC Annual Conference was held in September, 1998, at Garrison’s Resort on the Meramec River near Steelville. The new slate of officers for MOC included Spence Turner as Chairman of the Board; Bill Cooper, President; Bob Whitehead, Vice President; Randall Davis, Secretary-Treasurer, and new and returning Board Members Betty Swihart, Gerald Scott, Jack Hale, Darrell Taylor, Danny Hicks and Larry Whiteley. 

December, 1998, found hardy MOC members gathered at the Chillicothe farm of Jeff Churan for a lesson on resource management for quail followed by an afternoon of hunting and exploring the property. 

The February, 1999, Montauk catch-and-release trout fishing weekend and the May, 1999 back packing trip in the Bell Mountain Wilderness were both canceled due to illness among the organizers and other scheduling problems, but the July float and cookout on the Big Piney was a great success. 

The Holiday Inn Resort and Conference Center on the Lake of the Ozarks was the setting for the September 1999 Annual Conference. Jason Jenkins was named the first recipient of the Buck Rogers Memorial Fund. The 1999 slate of officers were Bob Whitehead, President; Jim Low, Vice President; Randall Davis, Secretary-Treasurer; Bill Cooper, Chairman of the Board; and Jack Hale, Danny Hicks, Gerald Scott, Darrell Taylor, Tim Huffman and John Neporadny, Board Members. 

On Jan. 8, 2000, a baker’s dozen of MOC members attended the MOC quarterly outing at the Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City. In March 2000, a trout fishing event scheduled for Spring Rise near Steelville was canceled due to snow. In June 2000, MOC members gathered at MDC’s Jerry J. Presley Center on the Current River for an environmental conference for outdoor writers. Then in July, 2000, MOC members once again gathered on the banks on the Big Piney River for the third annual MOC “Float ‘n’ Bloat” weekend. 

Dawt Mill was the setting for the September 2000 Annual Conference. Once again, sponsors and supporting members were generous with door prizes and other contributions. This generosity paved the way for the inaugural Buck Rogers Memorial Fund Silent Auction. The auction raised $921 for the fund. The 1999-2000 Buck Rogers Memorial Fund recipient was Kathleen Kerr, a journalism graduate student at the University of Missouri-Columbia. 

The 2000 slate of officers were Jim Low, President; Danny Hicks, Vice President; Randall Davis, Secretary/Treasurer; Bob Whitehead, Chairman of the Board; and Jack Hale, Gerald Scott, Tim Huffman, John Neporadny, Barbara Baird and Bob Todd, Board Members. Appointees included Darrell Taylor, Supporting Member Liaison; Charlene Cooper, Program Director; and Jason Jenkins, MOC Talk and Directory Editor. 

MOC began 2001 with a meeting in January at Runge Conservation Nature Center in Jefferson City where wildlife damage control was the topic of conversation. MOC’s next event was the fourth annual “Float ‘n’ Bloat,” held July 13 to 15. MOC’s final event in 2001 was the Annual Conference, which was held Sept. 14 to 16 at Bennett Spring State Park. The terrorist attacks of September 11 were on the hearts and minds of all those who attended, as one member - Conference Chairman Danny Hicks - was unable to attend after being stranded when air traffic was halted. 

The 2001 slate of officers were Danny Hicks, President; John Neporadny, Vice President; Joel Vance, Secretary/Treasurer; Jim Low, Chairman of the Board; and Barbara Baird, Bob Todd, Hank Reifeiss, Bill Seibel, Don Gasaway and John Winkelman, Board Members. Appointees included Darrell Taylor, Supporting Member Liaison; Spence Turner, Program Director; and Jason Jenkins, MOC Talk and Directory Editor. 

Throughout the years, MOC Talk, MOC's newsletter, has provided a wealth of craft improvement ideas, information on upcoming events of interest to outdoor communicators, reports on past events for the benefit of those members unable to attend, profiles of Supporting Members and even job opportunities. Charlie Slovensky faithfully served as MOC Talk editor during its first three years, followed by two years of hard work by Randall Davis and one year by Betty Swihart. The current editor is Jason Jenkins. 

While MOC Talk is the mass communication tool for the Missouri Outdoor Communicators, this MOC Directory in our source for networking with individual members. Each member brings unique skills and perspectives to the MOC organization. Welcome to the family!