top bellinger award

June 10, 2008

Dear Tom,

It is my hope this letter finds that all is well with you, Gerri and Tom Morgan Rodsmiths. It has been awhile since we last traded emails and I wanted to contact you with what you may consider exciting news.

Bellinger Award
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Shortly after taking over ownership of Bellinger from Al and Hugh, I had this idea that it would be nice to honor, acknowledge and somehow recognize the brothers in some way for their contribution to the bamboo rodmakers craft. As we both know, what it is that we do in the world of bamboo rodmaking is not motivated by the love of money. If it was about money, then we would surely be doing something else. So what was it that motivated Al and Hugh to devote over twenty five + years of their retirement to being involved in the bamboo rodmakers craft? We know it wasn't profit. So what was it? That is the thing that I felt needed recognition.

Some would say it is passion; and in my opinion, they are partially right. But, it is more than passion. It is passion combined with two other things; quality and integrity. It's the combination of passion, quality and integrity that are recognized in Al and Hugh Bellinger as being qualities that never go out of style.

So with all that said, an award was created to recognize the Bellinger brothers' contribution to the bamboo rodmakers craft; the A.P. Bellinger Award. The award is presented to an individual chosen by their fellow bamboo rodmakers, as demonstrating through the rodmakers craft, that quality and integrity never go out of style. By recognizing individuals within our midst who demonstrate these qualities, it is hoped in some way the added attention will add personality and lend a face to these qualities and contribute in some way toward the preservation of the craft.

In the award's first year Al and Hugh Bellinger, for obvious reasons, were recognized and presented with a plaque at a small ceremony at the Bellinger shop. The following year Daryll Whitehead was recognized for his contribution to the rodmakers craft with a similar plaque which he received at his shop. A.J. Thramer received the third annual A.P. Bellinger award, prompted by the local rodmaking community here in Oregon, at the rodmakers' dinner the evening before the Metolius Bamboo Rod Fair.

I'm honored to have the high privilege to inform you that Tom Morgan and Tom Morgan Rodsmiths have been chosen as the fourth annual A.P. Bellinger Award winner for demonstrating through the bamboo rodmakers craft that quality and integrity never go out of style!

Congratulations! We are very proud to be presenting you with this award. I will be contacting you soon to discuss in more detail how it would be best for you to receive your award.

Until then, regards,

Chet Croco


I am very honored to receive this award. During the many years that I have been in the bamboo rodmaking business my goal has always been to promote the craft. At the R. L. Winston Rod Company our shop was completely open to visitors and our knowledge freely shared. Over the years different rodmakers who were partners or worked for me attended various bamboo rodmaking clinics and gatherings where our knowledge was passed on to others. I, along with Bill Blackburn who works for me as a rodmaker, continue to share our knowledge freely with our customers or others who stop by our shop.

It is very satisfying to me to see the resurgence of interest in fishing bamboo rods along with greater interest in making them by both amateurs and professionals. In fact, there are more bamboo rodmakers today than ever before and more quality rods being made than at any other time. I believe that the Morgan Hand Mill has contributed to this increased interest in rodmaking by making it easier to learn the craft and, that too, has been rewarding.

I am glad that Chet has started an award that recognizes rodmakers who have contributed to this wonderful sport and I'm particularly pleased to be a recipient.

Tom Morgan

Questions? Contact us:
21505 Norris Road
Manhattan, MT 59741


Phone: 406.282.7110
Fax: 406.282.7167

(Note: is no longer a working address)

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Bellinger Award