Woodstock’s Tim Oman has a passion for fishing. One day in 2008, he was playing a round of golf with Alan Ott, an area dog trainer who has a passion for hunting. They were kicking around ideas for a fundraiser for the Woodstock Morning Rotary Club, and the seeds of the Great Outdoors Expo were planted.
The first Great Outdoors Expo was at McHenry County College, and the ensuing four editions, including this year's in February, were at Woodstock North High School. Over the five years, the GOE raised more than $60,000 for Shelterbox, which helps families made homeless by disasters, polio research and local charities.
After five years, however, the exhibiition will not continue.
“We’ve staged our final Great Outdoors Expo,” Oman said. ”We are proud of what we’ve been able to raise for charity. It is just that we had to weigh the time, energy and effort put in by all of the volunteers.
“The funds raised were just not enough for the effort extended. We loved the event, but we feel that we could raise as much money doing other things that don’t require the man hours our group had to put in. Yes, we grew each year, we just didn’t grow enough.”
Oman joined the Rotary Club in 2005 after being invited to one of its golf outings. He arrived with a friend and was impressed with the organization’s people.
“I quickly decided that this was a group I wanted to be involved with,” Oman said. “I really liked what they were attempting to do to be of benefit to our community.”
The 48-year-old Oman, a financial adviser, lives in Woodstock with his wife of 22 years, Donna, and their two sons, Tyler, 11, and Trevor, 8.
Oman loves to fish for all species. He is a big fan of Shabbona Lake south of DeKalb for largemouth bass. He hits the area forest preserve ponds and lakes with his sons as often as possible for panfish. He heads to Wisconsin’s Chippewa Flowage near Hayward every year to chase the elusive muskie. Oman also tries to make it to northwest Ontario every other year.
Tim’s passion for fishing gave him the drive to stage a top-quality local outdoors show. He was the chairman the first couple of years, and then the leadership of the show had to be spread out among a number of committee members because of the excessive workload.
“Tim is a great guy,” said Woodstock’s Hall of Fame angler, Spence Petros. “He works so hard to make the Expo a success. Rotary is a great group, and the charities are good ones.”