Fuel the Fire TV

Island sportsmen prepare hunting, fishing TV series

MANITOULIN—The made-on-Manitoulin outdoors show ‘Fuel the Fire TV’ will be coming to a television near you as hosts Rob Seifried and Neil Debassige have signed a deal with the Wild Television Network.

“We have a letter of intent from Wild TV for 13 episodes that will be airing on the network in January of 2015,” M’Chigeeng’s Neil Debassige told The Expositor last week. “They originally wanted to air the show starting this July, but we don’t want to rush it—we want to make sure all our bases are covered and put together a quality program.”

The idea of a fishing and hunting show was inspired by the duo’s love of the outdoors.

“Neil and I have been friends since school (Manitoulin Secondary School),” said Mr. Seifried. “It’s been a dream for both of us for a long time. Neil sent Wild TV a (video) clip last year of Fuel the Fire TV and things just took off from there.”

Mr. Seifried explained that he had been wanting his own outdoors show ever since a production company from the United States came to do some filming at his resort (Sunset Bay Resort in Kagawong) several years ago.

“I use to do black bear and white tail deer hunts and a company came up to do some filming,” Mr. Seifried revealed. “I’ve had the TV bug since then. I would really like to have a quality, successful show and make my living in the outdoors, off my passion.”

While Mr. Seifried learned about hunting and fishing from friends growing up, Mr. Debassige said his passion for the outdoors was instilled in him from a young age by his parents.

“My mom use to send my brother and I outside every day and my dad taught me how to hunt and fish, something that I’m passing onto my kids—it’s about balancing your inner medicine wheel,” Mr. Debassige explained, adding that the philosophy behind the show, and its name, is how the outdoors fuel an individual’s “inner fire,” giving people strength to overcome difficulties in their everyday lives.

“Creating a quality program that allows us to share in the adventure of getting outdoors through the main activities of hunting and fishing is what we are about,” states the Fuel the Fire TV website. “We are going to show how the outdoors is a place of balance—as the outdoors will always strive to be in balance. We are not bystanders in this attempt to be in balance, we are participants. We are going to share how we can help maintain balance in nature and show how it can help us do the same. The goal of Fuel the Fire TV is to share our experience in the outdoors so that others can not only watch but be inspired to try it themselves—thereby fueling their passions and fueling their own fire to get outdoors.”

“We are finalizing our pilot to take to sponsors, but we currently have enough raw footage for seven episodes,” said Mr. Debassige, noting that they are doing all the filming themselves. “We also have pro staff who are filming their hunts such as Warren Corbiere in M’Chigeeng and Ryan Anderson, who is originally from Manitoulin but lives and hunts in Saskatoon now.”

The show will focus on Manitoulin Island and Northern Ontario, but the show will also include footage from Northern Quebec, Saskatoon and southern Ontario.

“We had really good luck at the sports show (Toronto Sportsmen Show) recently and made two connections with sponsors,” said Mr. Seifried

“We both normally go to promote our businesses (Mr. Debassige owns Island Sunrise Cottages in M’Chigeeng),” added Mr. Debassige. “But this year we went and tried to build connections with potential sponsors. We will be going to northern Quebec through some of the networking we did—once this spring for a bear hunt and fishing and again in the fall for a moose hunt.”

“We really want to help build the tourism market on the Island as an outdoor destination and bring it to the next level,” continued Mr. Debassige. “The (outdoor TV show) market is really flooded, so we are trying to carve out a niche and think the best way to do that is to focus on what we know first, which is Manitoulin. We would also like to draw attention to the winter activities on the Island and help grow that area of the tourism market.”

The duo is hoping to pick up Island sponsors who are looking “to get their name out” as well as bigger business sponsors.

Anyone looking for more information on Fuel the Fire TV, to view a promotional video for the show, or for sponsor inquiries can visit the show’s website at fuelthefiretv.ca.

Robin Burridge