By Jamie Brough
Danny DeVries is no stranger to the spotlight. At 27 years old, the lifelong Pageite and self-described outdoorsman had his first taste of TV notoriety after placing in a handful of national bass tournaments in his early 20s.
DeVries got his next big break when he appeared in Animal Planet’s short-lived but well-liked reality series, Top Hooker, where contestants competed against each other with varying fishing techniques — often with bizarre obstacles to overcome in the process. His small town demeanor and infectious personality that landed him the role in the first place led to even more exposure in the outdoor entertainment world.
His show, “My Kind of Fishing,” premiered on the World Fishing Network and CarbonTV the following year in 2014, which had DeVries as a host exploring fishing skills and strategies with fellow bass fishermen — and women — across the country. Several of the episodes featured his stomping grounds at Lake Powell. The show even received advertising sponsorship from Page city officials.
But DeVries, ever the go-getter, is off on a different adventure this year. His newest television show, dubbed “Origins,” premiered last weekend and pursues its namesake by examining the spirit and drive behind outdoor enthusiasts.
DeVries grew up with a fishing rod in one hand and a hunting rifle in the other. From trawling for stripers in the furthest nooks and crannies of Lake Powell, to stalking elusive deer in the forests of the Kaibab, DeVries’ unflinching passion for outdoor living fuels the success he has found in the unlikely world of television.
“My whole life I’ve grown up with a love for being out in the wilderness. Some of my earliest memories are fishing with my dad and being out in the woods. I wanted to tell the stories of people who grew up with the same drive,” he said.”
Directed and written by DeVries himself, Origins delves into what makes the average American outdoorsman tick. While the show primarily focuses on hunting and fishing, some episodes branch out into interests like survival skills, recreational shooting and outdoor living all across the United States.
“The goal is to celebrate and really look at what makes us feel such a connection when we’re out there,” he continued. “Where we came from — before we had any of this [technology] our ancestors hunted and gathered to survive. They passed those stories and skills along verbally. I think Origins tries to recreate that pastime.”
In his second episode of the series, which will premiere Saturday, DeVries goes fly-fishing with fellow Page local and firefighter, Aaron Keisling. Much of the show, in that vein, is sourced and created with local talent, DeVries said.
“That was really important to me when I set out to start producing the show,” he noted. “I guess it’s kind of a way for me to give back to Page and because they’re good at what they do.”
Local talent is a common thread in the show. Instead of focusing on the typical expert advice during an outing on a boat, DeVries said he made it a point to seek out the non-professionals and hobbyists as a highlight in each episode.
“I didn’t want to do the same outdoor channel-style format that’s been done to death. Old Billy-Bob Joe from down the road who goes out fishing in the bayou in his backyard every weekend learned how to do that from his dad, and his dad from his dad,” he stated. “Those are the most interesting stories to tell and the stories we need to tell. He and everyone else who grew up with that kind of lifestyle know where the back roads end and where to go to really have an adventure. And, to me, that’s where you get other people motivated.”
Another big inspiration for the show, DeVries said, is a declining interest in the outdoors among his generation.
Painting outdoor skills as both fun and indispensible, and not relics of a bygone era, DeVries said, can start with entertainment media.
“It’s been a huge motivator for me — to get people out instead of seeing families sitting around a dinner table while they’re staring at this,” he said pointing to his own smart phone. “I think it’s a huge decline for the millennial generation. It’s crazy to me knowing there are millions of young people out there now who haven’t been camping a single day in their life. I want people to see how accessible it is, and how important it is.”
Origins will air on the Pursuit Channel, which is available on channel 393 on Dish and 604 for DirecTV.
The first episode premiered April 1, and all future episodes will air Saturdays at 3 p.m. EST, or noon for those of us in Page.