Payson Hosts Pro Infielder, Professional Angler

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An upcoming visit by two well-known professional athletes promises to be a rewarding and informative treasure of an evening that Rim Country sportsmen won’t soon forget.

It all begins at 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, Jan. 4 at Mountain Bible Church where Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Stephen Drew and professional bass tournament fisherman Glenn Chappelear will make guest appearances.

The event is part of the Shoot for the Heart series that for the past two years has hosted seminars designed around “outdoor recreation time with an emphasis on hunting and fishing in God’s creation,” says event founder Dennis Pirch, also a former Payson Roundup outdoor columnist.

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Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Stephen Drew will open the 2012 Shoot from the Heart program at Payson’s Mountain Bible Church Wednesday, Jan. 4.

Shoot for the Heart events help families who love the outdoors become better hunters and fishermen and build relationships with others who share the same interests.

The “sportsmen” definition fits both Drew and Chappelear well as both are known to love the outdoors and to be frequent participants in its activities.

While Drew is best known as the Diamondbacks’ star shortstop, he hinted at his love for everything wild during a 2009 visit to Rim Country Middle School. There, he drew a standing ovation after telling the audience that hunting and fishing were his favorite pastimes.

That prompted master of ceremonies Jeff Munn, a Diamondbacks announcer, to deadpan, “With those (interests), you could probably be elected mayor of Payson.”

Those who spent time listening to Drew’s presentation to the middle school students probably walked away realizing that while he is an avid angler and hunter, he also has a deep interest in conservation and preservation.

Drew, the younger brother of Boston Red Sox outfield J.D. Drew and former major leaguer Tim Drew, starred in baseball at Florida State University before signing a professional contract.

After starting out in Class A ball in 2006 with the Lancaster JetHawks, Drew advanced to Double-A and Triple-A leagues.

He made his major league debut for the Arizona Diamondbacks on July 15, 2006, replacing Craig Counsel, who injured his ribs.

Drew, who has movie-star good looks and a down-home personality, eventually became the Diamondbacks’ starting shortstop and appeared to be on his way to stardom before fracturing his ankle while sliding into home plate on July 20, 2011.

He finished the season with a .252 batting average, five home runs and 45 RBIs, but is expected to return next season to his form of old.

Those who know Drew, say time spent in church in the small, rural town of Hahira, Ga. forged a faith in God that now defines his life.

That faith turned apparent during his visit to Rim Country Middle School where his signed autographs often carried spiritual and uplifting messages.

Chappelear, also a native of Georgia, is a professional angler on both the FLW Tour and FLW series.

He competes in about 11 professional tournaments each year.

He is also the founder of Sportmen’s Outreach — an organization that has a goal to reach people with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Chappelear makes guest appearances at worship services, rallies, conferences, wild game banquets, camps, retreats and revivals.

At schools, he is a motivational speaker who promotes positive values to students.

When not competing on the tournament circuit or speaking, he is a volunteer with the Georgia Baptist Convention and a Senior Chaplin on the Cobb County Police Department.

In addition to the appearances of Drew and Chappelear at the upcoming Shoot for the Heart, a pair of well-known outdoor cooks, Bob DePugh and Rob Myers, will be preparing and serving, free of charge, their famous wild game chili.

Pirch says the wild game will probably include elk and deer.

DePugh first served up his scrumptious delights at a Shoot for the Heart event held in November 2010.

The meal was an overwhelming success, prompting Pirch to ask DePugh to make a return visit, this time accompanied by Myers.

Pirch expects both to use their innovation, skill and creativity to prepare another lip-smacking pleasure.

For more information on Shoot for the Heart, call (928) 472-7800.

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