How does a guy who's never picked up a rifle in earnest end up as producer and cameraman for a TV hunting show?
If he's Keith Parish, it's because he senses there's good TV to be made, and he goes out and does it.
Parish is a Reading native who launched his production company, Parish Digital Video, in 2007, right after graduating from the University of Pittsburgh. He mostly made TV ads and corporate videos. But then a college pal, Todd Locker, introduced Parish to his brother, Benmont, and their father.
Benmont Locker and his dad, of Chambersburg, Pa., are a couple of cutups who Parish believed would go over well on camera. "I was like, man, these two guys need to have a TV show."
Then, by coincidence, these hunting enthusiasts went into business together, acquiring a company that made and sold hunting apparel. Instant premise: the show that would document the pair's attempt to re-launch the Medalist brand, alongside Benmont's trophy-hunting exploits around the continent. Another figure in the reality show would be Benmont's girlfriend, Kate Frey, a hunting newbie.
Parish shot sample video in March. Sponsors were acquired. The first episode of The Thrill with Benmont and Kate aired on the Sportsman Channel on June 25. New episodes will air weekly into September, at 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays, 8 a.m. Wednesdays and 1:30 p.m. Saturdays.
Locker and Frey are photogenic and personable. In one episode, they stalk an aoudad, an African sheep, on a hunting ranch in Texas. ("How pretty!" exclaims Frey, beholding a just-killed aoudad.)
Other trips in the 14-episode first season took the crew to Florida, Wyoming, Montiana, New Mexico, Kansas and Canada.
Though he wears camo out in the field, Parish, 27, says he still hasn't gone hunting, per se. But stalking live game with a camera on his shoulder is a big challenge in itself. "It's one of the hardest things I've ever done."