Appalachia Blog


SEOPA 50th Anniversary

Several weeks ago I told you I was about to walk on strange ground, the strange ground I hinted at was the annual conference of the Southeastern Outdoor Press Association (SEOPA).

It was over a year ago that I was invited to speak at SEOPA’s annual conference. I was beyond flattered, but truthfully I didn’t know very much about the organization.

SEOPA was organized in 1964-right here in my backyard-at Fontana Village. Evan Means from Tennessee played a role in the birth of the organization.

According to SEOPA’s website their purpose is to:

• Promote quality communication of outdoor activities and issues.

• Promote ethical conduct in communication of outdoor activities and issues.

• Promote fellowship among persons engaged in communication of outdoor activities and issues.

• Promote education of members and the general public through communication of outdoor activities and issues.

• Promote interchange of information with other professional communication groups and organizations.

Tipper at SEOPA


My invitation to present at the conference involved two separate activities. I spoke about the Blind Pig & the Acorn in a presentation titled Blogging from the Heart and I hosted an Appalachian Cooking Demonstration.

Although I was nervous about presenting at an event I had never even been to-I was also very excited about the prospect of meeting new people and experiencing all the conference had to offer-which was a lot! The line up of speakers and entertainment was totally amazing.

This year’s conference was SEOPA’s 50th Anniversary. And in honor of that first meeting back in 1964 they held the conference at Fontana Village.

Tipper and Chitter


Chitter applied for the Lindsay Sale-Tinney SEOPA Conference Scholarship which gives an aspiring young outdoor writer or photographer an opportunity to attend the conference. Although Chitter did not win the scholarship, she was invited to attend as my guest, which greatly added to my excitement.

My blogging presentation was warmly received, with more than a few folks telling me I inspired them to start their own blog. And my cooking demonstration was a huge success as well. Many of the cooking attendees have contacted me since the conference to let me know they’re loving my recipes…and wowing their families with their new cooking skills!

Words really can’t express how impressed I am with SEOPA. From the moment we arrived we were treated like family. During the 4 day event I had lots of time to sit back and really watch people. Kindness, encouragement, helpfulness, and general good spirits abounded in every person.

I have so many things about the conference I want to share with you, and due to the generosity of SEOPA members I have quite a few giveaways to share with you as well. So be on the lookout for more posts about my experience at SEOPA’s 50th Anniversary Conference.


p.s. A big THANK YOU for the well wishes for Pap! He was honored and humbled by your comments. He had a better day yesterday-and hopefully we’ll know more after a few more test and he’ll soon be home!!


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  • Reply
    Kerry in GA
    November 19, 2014 at 10:44 am

    Wow! Ron Rash was there. Just finished reading “The Cove” last weekend.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2014 at 7:59 pm

    So glad to hear Pap is feeling a bit better! Hope the tests and whatnot give you all some good answers soon 🙂
    Congratulations on being invited to the conference, for both a presentation AND a cooking demo! So nice to be recognized for the value of what you do! And from the pictures, it looks like you and your kid sister (heh) had a splendid time 🙂
    (I’m using a different email account tonight to see if your blog will stop thinking of me as an international master of crime and a general ne’er-do-well. Fingers crossed!)

  • Reply
    Mark McDowell
    November 18, 2014 at 6:26 pm

    As always SEOPA’s 50th. celebration and conference was a huge success. Tipper and the girls attendance was just icing on the cake! We look forward to seeing more of you and the girls in the future. Welcome to the family…..

  • Reply
    November 18, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    I’m praying for Pap, Granny and your whole family. We hope he’ll be home soon and you all can relax.
    Be good to yourself

  • Reply
    David Templeton
    November 18, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    Seems like only yesterday that you opened your on-line magazine “Blind Pig and the Acorn”. I knew then that it would become very popular
    and that you would have many followers. Now, to be invited to speak at SEOPA’s 50th and praised for your works, how well deserved.

  • Reply
    Rooney Floyd
    November 18, 2014 at 2:29 pm

    We are very proud of you…but not surprised. Way to go!

  • Reply
    Brandi N.
    November 18, 2014 at 2:10 pm

    I can’t wait to go read more about SEOPA! And many prayers for Pap, I’m catching up on my readin’!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    November 18, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    I’m glad the folks at SEOPA got to
    meet and hear from a couple of our
    girls. I know Jim Casada was very
    pleased with your Presentation and
    he’s this year’s President.
    Pap is still in my prayers and with
    all the Blind Pig readers, it’s a
    Powerful Thing…Ken

  • Reply
    November 18, 2014 at 1:27 pm

    Oh, I love the pictures of you and Chitter…gorgeous ladies with chinquapin eyes! I really cannot wait for you to publish a recipe book, Tipper! Wish Fontana Village was in my backyard. My family loved going there for picnics when I was young. Thanks for “making a lovely difference” in the world. So glad Pap is better! Praise the Lord!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 18, 2014 at 1:00 pm

    No, it’s not your mistake. It’s in SEOPA’s mission statement. It might be right! I don’t know. I just wanted to understand.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2014 at 12:46 pm

    My mistake. Thank you for finding it Ed! Yes Ron Rash was there too.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    November 18, 2014 at 11:37 am

    If I may ask a stupid question, why in a house full of writers, are you clutching a copy of “The Cove?” Was Ron Rash there?
    One more stupid question if I may. Why does SEOPA have a four-fold purpose with five points they wish to promote? Maybe my ignorance is showing but this has caused my comment to be late. I know I am probably missing something. Could someone please enlighten me on how to figure folds?

  • Reply
    November 18, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Prayers for Pap’s recovery! Sorry a day late, but our internet was not working yesterday and just got it back.

  • Reply
    Sue Crane
    November 18, 2014 at 10:18 am

    what an honor – looking forward to hearing more about it. But now I’m sad, I didn’t know Pap was having problems. Sending get well prayers and good wishes to him and hugs to Granny ’cause I know how she must be worrying and feeling (and also you).

  • Reply
    November 18, 2014 at 9:50 am

    I wanted to just hop on and let you know Pap is in my heart and prayers. I hope SEOPA opens a big wide interesting door for you and family, but you must never give up the blog.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    November 18, 2014 at 9:27 am

    Lots more prayers for Pap.
    Hope your trip to SEOPA. Know you will enjoy.
    Thanks for keeping us grounded and remembering things we get too busy to recall.
    We would not be the person we are today if not for those who came before.
    Sometimes we forget to say thanks.

  • Reply
    C. Ron Perry, Sr.
    November 18, 2014 at 9:07 am

    Tipper, you and Chitter look more like sisters (almost twin) than mother and daughter. Both are beautiful young women, inside and out!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2014 at 8:51 am

    I’m so happy your blog opened today! For a few days all I got was an error 1001 message. I’ve got some catching up to do. Got to find about what’s going on with Pap and read what everyone has to say about firewood.
    It amazes me where you find the time to do all the things you do.

  • Reply
    eva nell wike, PhD
    November 18, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Tipper: I am late responding to this delightful post BUT very impressed with your review. CONGRATULATIONS and give our kindest regards and wishes for a quick recovery to your Dad.
    Eva Nell

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    November 18, 2014 at 8:48 am

    I am so happy that Pap is feeling better. We hope all the other tests go well and he will soon be home, “snug as a bug in a rug”!
    I did my very best “mental telepathy transmission” of “chicken soup” to Pap and to you, in hopes it would help you both. Still keeping you all in our prayers!
    How wonderful that you were asked to speak at the SEOPA conference! I know the members loved you like all of us Blind Pig Readers!
    However, I just knew that your “new ground” was going to be a “cookbook”…intro or edit by Jim or Don or both! Maybe you can “stir up that pot” later and walk on that new ground!
    The pictures of you and of Chitter and you, are just great! Like I mentioned once already this week, wish I looked as young as my children!
    Thanks for the interesting post,
    PS…It is colder than a “well digger” here this morning! In fact I think a “well digger” would be warmer!
    PSS…The hungry birds are feeding just before daylight and up until dark! Lots of Junco’s yesterday, a sure sign of snow soon! We had flurries last night!

  • Reply
    Richard Beauchamp
    November 18, 2014 at 8:48 am

    Tell Jerry hope he is better soon this cold weather is not to my liking. We had 15° for a low last night and expecting 23° for a high today. The picture of you and your daughter is just beautiful .

  • Reply
    Lisa Snuggs
    November 18, 2014 at 8:38 am

    I always enjoy your blog, Tipper, but your review about your time at the SEOPA conference has me sitting taller in my chair with a big smile on my face and on the verge of happy tears! What a way to start my work day. As SEOPA’s executive director, I can attest to the success of your presentations and that, yes, we love you and Chitter and Chatter as much as your regular followers do. Thank you for being with us for our special anniversary celebration. I look forward to future visits.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Wow! Proud of you Tipper!

  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    November 18, 2014 at 8:31 am

    Congratulations Tipper! Your many talents deserve to be recognized. Praying for dad to get well soon.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2014 at 8:18 am

    Hang in there “Pap”…!!

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    November 18, 2014 at 8:02 am

    As a longtime member of the organization, I just happened to be one of the folks in attendance at the SEOPA conference at Fontana. In fact, I haven’t missed a single meeting since becoming a member over a quarter of a century ago, and that says a lot about the qualities of the organization to which Tipper refers.
    Although she indicates plans to add additional insight on her experience at the conference in coming weeks, I’ll anticipate Tipper a bit and note that both Chitter and Chatter were present for the traditional final night activities at the meeting.
    The organization just happens to have a whole bunch of talented musicians in its ranks, so the conference always winds up with a laid-back evening of pickin’ and grinnin’. The girls took the stage with a whole bunch of others and provided pure delight with their songs. Some of these musicians are folks who have been performing for fun or as a part of their livelihood for decades (one of them is a significant behind-the-scenes presence in Nashville and writes the narrative material for Bob Kingsley’s “American Country Music Countdown”), yet almost to a man and woman they said something to the effect of how delightful it was to share the stage with Chitter and Chatter along with a gifted dulcimer player who is a year or two younger than the twins.
    I’ll simply add that the girls weren’t the only hit–their mom was too and Tipper’s good vibes from the conference went both ways.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    Ethelene Dyer Jones
    November 18, 2014 at 7:36 am

    Thanks for reporting on SEOPA! I’m so glad the program planners gave you the opportunity to attend and present–not once but twice! Super! And I know they loved you as we do! Congratulations. Still praying for Pap. May he soon be much on the mend and able to return home–and play and sing for us, and give us bits of his wisdom! (The pictures of you and Chitter are marvelous!)

  • Reply
    William Dotson
    November 18, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Tipper, tell Pap to take care of himself and keep up the mending. I enjoy all the stuff that he does and the things he did as a boy and when he was a younger man.

  • Reply
    November 18, 2014 at 7:12 am

    Sounds like you are on to another adventure. Your life is so full; you must fall into bed at night knowing that you have added so much to many, especially your readers. I really enjoy reading your blog daily and I have learned so much about the ‘Applachain’ ways. Thanks!
    Good morning, Pap!

  • Reply
    November 18, 2014 at 5:49 am

    Congratulations, that sounds exciting. Who knows this may open new doors for you, and the Girls.. You deserve it, you all stay so busy with everything, and work hard at it.. Keep us posted about your Dad.. When he gets over this and it’s upper respiratory.. “research” “Elderberry” My Father in Law went through an upper respiratory infection every year until he started taking it,, hasn’t had one since… He’s 75 now..

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