Officers

Chris Edwards – President

Chris Edwards was raised in Stratton, Nebraska and shortly out of high school he enlisted in the United States Navy. He is now a retired Chief Petty Officer with over 20 years of faithful service. He performed a wide array of job assignments while in the Navy to include: Military Police with K-9 background, Expeditionary Security Forces, Enlisted Recruiter, Medical Officer Programs Recruiter, Command Financial Specialist, and Trainer just to name a few. He serves as President of Big Game Conservation Association, past President of Big Red Whitetails and is on the Board of Directors of Nebraska Sportsmen’s Foundation.

He is a member of multiple organizations including Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Quality Deer Management Association, Veterans of Foreign Wars, National Wild Turkey Foundation, National Rifle Association and Delta Waterfowl. His passion for the outdoors led him to start his own business, Big Red Outdoors, in October 2009 and has grown to over 50 members with 9,000 acres of private hunting ground leased in Nebraska. Requiring a better management tool for his club members, Chris worked with a computer programming firm to develop an online reservation system for member use. Once developed, he saw a wider market for its use and has since started another company, American Sportsman Network (ASN), which allows other club owners the opportunity to utilize the reservation system.

Currently, the ASN has participating clubs in Alabama and Tennessee with aspirations to add a club in every state. Big Red Outdoors is actually the catalyst for driving Chris to the conservation arena as he wanted to learn more about improving the habitat on his leased properties. Big game herd management also led him to use RAKS™ Deer Mineral on his properties and just recently he purchased the company. His years in the military have given him an unparalleled work ethic, drive to succeed and focus on mission accomplishment. Traits that are key to any successful venture!

Martin Weverka – Vice President

Martin Weverka has been employed by Petsmart for the last 14 years as a Store Manager.  He also has 5 more years of management experience with Hy-Vee and YABC. Martin has a high school diploma and attended Metro Community College for 3 years and took general education classes.

Martin served for 2 years as the Treasurer for the Big Red Whitetails Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association.  He is a volunteer/board member for the Clean Lake Council for the past 15 years.  He has also volunteered with fundraisers for the Omaha Association of the Deaf for the last 20+ years.

He is also a current member of Ducks Unlimited,  Delta Waterfowl, National Rifle Association, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, National Wild Turkey Federation, Nebraska Bow Hunters Association,  Nebraska Sportsman Foundation and Quality Deer Management Association.

Jeremy Schaaf – Secretary

Born in the Sandhills of Nebraska, and now residing in Lincoln NE, Jeremy Schaaf has had a love for the outdoors since early childhood. In an effort to further his involvement in the outdoors industry, Jeremy started Rock Falls Outdoors in 2011 as a small independent rep group working alongside a handful of small manufacturers.

Rock Falls has since transformed into an outdoors group with the purpose of filming their outdoors adventures, and are currently putting together episodes to showcase on an online platform. Blessed to work alongside some great manufacturers, Rock Falls also strives to promote youth in the outdoors.

Professionally, Jeremy started Schaaf Construction in 2001 and specializes in remodeling and new construction. Along with the construction business, Jeremy accepted a position in 2013 with RAKS Big Game Supplements in outside sales.

Jeremy is also currently involved with:

  • Factory Staff with New Breed Archery
  • Field Staff with Hawk Hunting
  • Field Staff with Hunt Upwind Scent Eliminator
  • Nebraska Sportsmen’s Foundation
  • Nebraska Bowhunters Association
  • NRA
  • Published twice in Western Shooting Journal

Rick Langstraat – Treasurer

Rick Langstraat has an MBA with a Specialization in Finance from Nova Southeastern University. He is currently a Department of Defense civilian working on Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska where he is the Director of Financial Management for the Joint Functional Component Command for Global Strike where he has been working since 2005.

Rick has been the Treasurer of Big Game Conservation Association since December 2012. He is also an Assistant Den Leader and Treasurer for Cub Scout Pack 206 in Papillion, Nebraska. He is a member of The American Society of Military Comptrollers, the Nebraska Bowhunters Association, Ducks Unlimited, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and is an active volunteer firearm and bowhunter education instructor for Nebraska Game and Parks Commission. He is a life member of North American Hunting Club, the National Rifle Association, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars.

Scott Smathers – Board Member

Education

  • Graduated Washington High School 1981 – Germantown, Wisconsin
  • Attended University of Wisconsin at Lacrosse – Lacrosse, Wisconsin 1982-1985 Majoring in Economics and Finance with a minor in communications

Employment

  • Executive Director – Nebraska Sportsmen’s Foundation; 2010-present
  • Pheasants Forever – Eastern Nebraska Regional Rep; 2008-2010
  • Eggers Consulting – Executive Recruiting Firm in Banking; 2002-2010
  • Pat Ryan & Associates/Ford Motor Credit – Western US District Manager; 1986-2008
  • Conservation Memberships
  • Pheasants Forever Life Member
  • Quail Forever
  • Ducks Unlimited
  • National Wild Turkey Federation
  • Quality Deer Management Association
  • Big Game Conservation Association
  • Nebraska Wildlife Federation
  • Nebraska Firearms Owners Association

Professional Affiliations

  • Cornhusker Chapter, Pheasants Forever; Lincoln, Nebraska
  • President 2011-present
  • Vice President 2009-2010
  • Youth Chair 2009-2011
  • Banquet Co-chair 2010-2013
  • Habitat Co-chair 2009-2012
  • Board Member, Big Game Conservation Association; 2012-present
  • Executive Board Member, Nebraska Land Trust; 2010-present
  • Member, Nebraska Water Task Force by appointment from the Nebraska Legislator; 2010, 2011, 2012
  • Co-Chair – Nebraska Sportsmen’s Legislative Forum; 2010-present

Scott Smathers is involved heavily in the outdoor arena on both a professional and personal level to help ensure, protect and enhance our traditions and heritage for future generations. The fact that hunting, fishing and the outdoors were a key factor in his upbringing and strong belief that the traditions and rich values of family, honesty and strong moral fiber are learned from being active in the outdoors and being a steward of our natural resources and preserving it for current and future generations is not only his obligation but his passion. That is why Scott is so involved on both a professional and personal level in such depth.

Scott is married to his wonderful and supportive wife, Angie. He is also the proud father of two grown children, Nicole who is 25 and Zach who is 21. He is owner of three wonderful dogs and uncle to 5 fantastic nieces and nephews that he is teaching about the love of the outdoors and the rewards it provides.

Scott lived in Nebraska from 1974 to 1980 and again returned in 1985 where he has been ever since.

John Connell – Board Member

John Connell was born in Johnstown PA and grew up in Tupelo MS where his parents still reside. John’s father was raised in west Tennessee where he learned to hunt and fish as a young boy. His father passed his knowledge on to John as a young boy. His father and grandfathers were always active hunters and taught him to be ethical as an outdoorsman. As a teenager John taught himself to trap beaver, muskrat and mink. He has always had a passion for the outdoors and outdoor activities such as backpacking and camping. During his high school years he worked for the federal YCC (Youth Conservation Corps) building trails and conserving plant life, animal life and the history of the Natchez Trace Parkway. After attending the University of Southern Mississippi and University of Mississippi he began working his way into retail management and now has 23 years experience in this field. John has lived in the Omaha metro area since 2001 and this is where he met his wife, DeAnna.

John is a member of several conservation organizations: Big Game Conservation Association, Fontenelle Forest, Nebraska Wildlife Federation, Quality Deer Management Association, Nebraska Firearms Owners Association, and Ducks Unlimited. He is also associated with Big Red Outdoors, East Nebraska Gun Club, National Rifle Association, and International Hearing Dog Association

Thomas Bouche – Board Member

Thomas was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska. He spends much of his time outdoors enjoying nature while hunting and fishing. Thomas has been a member of the Big Red Outdoors hunting club since June 2010. He also enjoys going biking, kayaking and photography.

Thomas is a hands-on, results oriented individual with expertise in customer service, client relationship and problem solving. He has utilized his skills while working for Centurylink Telecommunications, his employer of fourteen years. Thomas is looking forward to utilizing and increasing his knowledge of game conservation and management of Nebraska’s big game resources. Thomas’ anticipated # of work hours with BGCA would be a minimum of 20 hours per year.