Bill Gloeckler and Bruce Winter, cofounders of Arizona River Runners and Grand Canyon Whitewater, were presented with the 2022 George & Pamela Wendt Industry Achievement Awards during the America Outdoors Conference Wednesday, November 30th. This award is the most prestigious honor given in the outfitter industry. It is bestowed upon individuals who have shown exceptional innovation, achievement, and commitment to the field of outdoor recreation.
“It’s such a golden opportunity to honor a pair who have been so welcoming to others entering the industry,” remarked Aaron Bannon, Executive Director. “The appreciation that poured out of Bruce and Bill’s staff and colleagues is heart-warming. Congrats to these two legends!”
Bruce and Bill were introduced by nominator Dean Knuth, Marketing Director for Arizona River Runners and Grand Canyon Whitewater. The award was presented by America Outdoors President, Dave McGlashan.
Bruce Winter and Bill Gloeckler have impacted the lives of tens of thousands of Grand Canyon rafting guests throughout their 50 years of operation. Starting as young river guides, both Bruce and Bill grew up in the Grand Canyon.
Bill was one of the original craftsmen of the Cooperative Resource Management trips, partnering commercial companies with the National Park Service. Bill felt it essential to be part of and provide equipment and guides for much-needed conservation work. Bill has always had a reverence for protecting the resource of the Grand Canyon.
Bruce Winter was a founding member of the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Association. He has always been a level-headed and thoughtful voice in the room. When Bruce talks, people listen.
Bruce and Bill constantly give back to the Grand Canyon and the outdoor community by supporting the Whale Foundation, America Outdoors, and countless other organizations. They were part of the initial process of combining the Western and Eastern guide associations into what is the modern-day America Outdoors Association – seeing value in shared goals.
America Outdoors is proud to honor Bruce and Bill. We thank them for their years of service. Watch the awards ceremony to hear Dean Knuth's thoughtful introduction and Bruce and Bill's acceptance speeches: