Mail Tribune outdoor writer Mark Freeman garnered three first-place awards in the Outdoor Writers Association of America's annual Excellence in Craft competition unveiled Sept. 6 during the association's 85th annual conference outside of Fairbanks, Alaska.
Freeman, 48, also was voted second-vice president of the 1,000-member organization, putting him in line to become the group's president in 2014 and making him program chair for the 2013 conference set for Lake Placid, N.Y.
Freeman took first place in two of the OWAA's seven newspaper writing competitions for articles published during 2011. His Nov. 25 column about fishing Montana's Bitterroot River topped the association's Fishing category and his humorous look at improving a family's cache of camping gear won top honors in the Gear/Technical category.
Freeman also won first place in the OWAA's new Environmental Blog category for a Three-Word Thursday post Aug. 4 about Yosemite National Park. It was one of seven blog categories added to the OWAA contest in 2011.
OWAA is the country's oldest largest association of professional outdoor communicators.