Idaho author Jo Deurbrouck has been awarded a 2012 National Outdoor Book Award for “Anything Worth Doing” (Sundog), a true story that celebrates wild rivers via the lives and adventures of two Idaho raft guides named Jon Barker and Clancy Reece.
“In this highly creative and exceptionally well written account, Deurbrouck traces the lives of these two men: one an aging, bear of a man [Reece], a Vietnam era veteran and sometimes recluse river guide whose past includes boxing and ballet dancing; and the other a fit, young man [Barker], a rising star among river runners, full of ideas and ambitions,” writes the awards committee. “You’ll find yourself glued to the pages as Deurbrouck deftly steers the narrative to a building climax. This is an impressive piece of work and a welcomed addition to river literature and lore.”
The adventures detailed in “Anything Worth Doing” center on Idaho’s Salmon River, the last long undammed wilderness whitewater river in the lower 48 states and one of the few remaining in the world. Not only is the 425 mile-long Salmon undammed, so are all its major tributaries. The result? A river that runs amok every high water spring, creating the opportunities Reece and his friend Barker seek.
Rivers and river runners are frequent subjects for NOBA winners. So are mountaineering, fly-fishing, trekking, sea kayaking, first descents and ascents, natural history and conservation.
The National Outdoor Book Awards has been highlighting exceptional outdoor literature since 1997. Past winners include Ted Kerasote, Greg Child, Farly Mowat, Joe Simpson, David Attenborough and Peter Heller. Past Idaho winners include Cort Conley in 1998 and Matt Leidecker in 2006.
“Anything Worth Doing” was published by Sundog, an Idaho company formed by Deurbrouck and her husband after New York publishers turned the manuscript down. “I’m grateful for the chance to see ‘Anything Worth Doing’ evaluated on its merits, and I’m happy that a story important to many Idahoans is receiving such recognition,” she said.