A tribute to Tom Boatwright

He was the one you could never count on – the little boy from a country no one had heard of. He had a mustache as wide as Delta Mobile-Tensaw in Alabama and a slightly wider smile. But when Tom Boatwright drew a bow, muscled an ATV through an obstacle course, or sent a rifle bullet into a distant target, you could just say: This guy was in it to win it. And won – not only the title Field & Flow‘s Total Outdoorsman Challenge twice, in 2009 and 2011, but the hearts of his contestants, the TV show’s film crew and staff Field & Flow who fell under the spell of Tom’s unwavering love of life.

So we were deeply saddened by the news that Thomas F. Boatwright Jr. passed away July 29, at his home in Perdido, Alabama. He had battled brain cancer for years, and he brought to that fight the same winning attitude and positive energy that he brought to the Total Outdoorsman Challenge competition and television series, which once ran on the Outdoor Channel. Boatwright was also the Buckmasters Top Bow World Champion in 2010 and placed second in 2012. In 2013, he was honored by Alabama Governor Robert Bentley with a congratulatory proclamation for his accomplishments.

May 2012 cover of F&S
Boatwright made the cover of F&S alongside fellow Total Outdoorsman challenge winners Chad Weatherford and Paul Thompson in May 2012. Field & Flow

As his friends and family knew, Tom was also someone you could always count on. He was a carpenter with the Baldwin County Board of Education and founder of World Champion Outdoors in Atmore, Alabama. He was the guy who always showed up and never had so much to do that he couldn’t do for others.

Throughout his cancer treatment, Tom wouldn’t let anyone tell him that he was anything but blessed—blessed with a loving family, friends across the country, and a wild ride toward the kind of celebrity that he could only have dreamed it. And that didn’t change a thing. Either way, he embodied it Field & Flow has long sought to underline: Tom Boatwright was the soul of Americans abroad.

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