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Rocky Bleier – Intensity to the Tenth Power
Posted: Wed, 22 Jan 2014
Rocky Bleier
After his 1968 rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Bleier was drafted into the U.S. Army in December 1968. He volunteered for duty in the Vietnam War and shipped out in May 1969, serving with the 196th Light Infantry Brigade. On August 20, while on patrol in Heip Duc, Bleier was wounded in the left thigh by a rifle bullet when his platoon was ambushed in a rice paddy. While down, an enemy grenade landed nearby after bouncing off a fellow soldier, sending shrapnel into his lower right leg. He was later awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. His rank was Specialist 4.

While he was recovering in a hospital in Tokyo, doctors told him that he would not play football again. Soon after, he received a postcard from Steelers owner Art Rooney which just read “Rock – the team’s not doing well. We need you. Art Rooney.” Bleier later said “When you have somebody take the time and interest to send you a postcard, something that they didn’t have to do, you have a special place for those kind of people.”

One year after being wounded, Bleier reported to Steelers training camp. Upon his return, he couldn’t walk without being in pain, and weighed only 180 pounds (82 kg). He spent two full years trying to regain a spot on the active roster, and was even waived on two occasions. But Bleier never gave up, and said that he worked hard so that “some time in the future you didn’t have to ask yourself ‘what if?’.”

Rocky Bleier

An offseason training regimen brought Bleier back to 212 pounds in the summer of 1974. From that point in time, he would be in the Steelers’ starting lineup.

Since Preston Pearson was wearing number 26 (the number Bleier wore his rookie season before he went to Vietnam), Bleier switched to number 20 when he returned to the team from Vietnam. After Pearson was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in 1975, Bleier kept the number 20, with which he had become associated.

In addition to being a great lead blocker, Bleier was the second of the Steelers’ rushing weapons (Franco Harris was the primary back), but was effective nonetheless at both blocking and rushing. In 1976, both Harris and Bleier rushed for over 1,000 yards, making this the second NFL team to accomplish this feat, after Mercury Morris and Larry Csonka of the 1972 Miami Dolphins.

Bleier played in the first four Steeler Super Bowl victories, and caught the touchdown pass from Terry Bradshaw that gave Pittsburgh a lead it would never surrender in Super Bowl XIII.

Bleier retired after the 1980 season with 3,865 rushing yards, 136 receptions for 1,294 yards, and 25 touchdowns. At the time of his retirement he was the Steelers fourth all-time leading rusher.

Writeup courtesy of Wikipedia

This is Denny’s pencil drawing of Rocky. It is featured in a book that Pittsburgh Steeler Vice President, Art Rooney, Jr. published titled A Passion For Art And Football. The drawing was also incorporated into a collector card designed by Pittsburgh artist, Peter West.

Rocky Bleier Trading Card
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Wayne Fox, Grass Dancer
Posted: Fri, 17 Jan 2014
Wayne Fox, Grass Dancer
Buy this print
This fine man is Native American, Wayne Fox. He is from the state of North Dakota. Leigh and I met Wayne at the powwow in Cody, Wyoming in the summer of 2008. The powwow is held every year at the famous Buffalo Bill Historical Center, now named Buffalo Bill Center Of The West. Wayne won the grass dance competition that year. Here is a photo of him being presented with a rifle that Yvonne Bank’s father built before he passed away. Standing with them, are our friends, Yvonne and fellow grass dancer, Stan Bearpaw, whom I have painted two different times.

Wayne Fox

This piece is traditional oils on Ampersand Gessobord Masonite. The piece is hanging at that the Plainsman Gallery that moved into a new facility in Dunedin, Florida in the winter of 2013.

Here is the piece shown with the ornate frame.

Wayne Fox, Grass Dancer

Lastly, I have a request. If there is anyone out there that might know Wayne, I would ask that you contact me. Since 2008, I have lost contact with him.

Signed and numbered prints available. Edition of 150.

Original is available. $975

Measures: 8″ x 8″

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Brett Keisel talks about his love of hunting, A Wyoming Spirit painting, and of course, the beard
Posted: Sat, 11 Jan 2014
A Wyoming Spirit, Brett Keisel, Backwoodsman Magazine Cover

View the painting writeup »

By Alan Clemons, Deer and Deer Hunting

While growing up in Wyoming, Brett Keisel loved hunting and being outdoors in the wide open country loved by so many outdoorsmen.

He’s currently an All-Pro defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers. At 35 years old, Keisel has toiled in the National Football League for a dozen years, earning high praise from coaches, teammates and opponents for his work ethic, dedication and professionalism.

He has hunted for 20 years and his favorite animals to hunt with his bow are white-tailed deer and elk. Keisel and his family live in Pennsylvania.

He was interviewed by Alan Clemons for this “I’m A Deer Hunter” feature:

 
You’re in Pennsylvania, one of the top states for deer hunting, but it collides with the NFL season. Do you get to do any hunting in autumn at home?

Absolutely. I stick with archery, the weather is nice here early in the season and my body is not too beat up at that point.

By time rifle season gets here it’s hard to get out of bed and into a tree somewhere. I have a big passion for archery. I got my deer last year with my Bowtech Destroyer.

I have a nice piece of property here near Pittsburgh and can pretty much hunt in my yard. I’m surrounded by woods and there are a lot of big deer running around there. I have some food plots in the field behind house, mostly to keep the deer from eating the flowers.

Brett Keisel

What is it about bowhunting that you enjoy so much?

I just love the intensity, getting close to the animal, trying to get a good, clean shot. I’ve always loved it. I was 16 and growing up in northern Wyoming hunting elk and got my first elk with my bow. That kind of changed my life and hooked me on archery forever.

 
Do you get to hunt in Wyoming now or will that come after retirement?

I don’t, because of the season (overlap), but I’m building up my bonus points for the draw system out there. This is my 12th year in the NFL and I’m definitely on the downhill slope. I don’t know what’s going to come down the road but when I’m done (with football) and back home, I’ll be making up for lost time.

A Wyoming Spirit, Brett Keisel, Backwoodsman Magazine Cover

The painting Denny Karchner did of you that is on the cover of The Backwoodsman magazine is very cool. How did that come about?

That’s my natural outfit, really.

I’ve gotten to be friends with Denny. He lives in Cody, about 30 miles east of where I grew up, and he did a painting me with my Steelers gear on. He asked if he could do a painting of me in my mountain man garb and, of course, I loved it.

I’ve always loved the outdoors and being outside. In winter I get stir crazy being stuck inside.

I’ve just always loved the great outdoors and Mother Nature, and this great continent we live on. This is a great passion of mine. That painting turned out great. The mountains in the background of Denny’s painting is where I grew up hunting.

Read the full article about Brett’s love of hunting HERE.

Thank you to Mr. Clemons and Deer and Deer Hunting for the great article!

Click here to read more about Brett Keisel.

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