Love of music and hunting has led Nick Hoffman on the adventure of a lifetime.
When Nick Hoffman settled on the name “Nick’s Wild Ride” for his globe-trotting hunting show, the 36-year-old entertainer might as well have been summing up his own life in three words. Raised in Minnesota farm country, Hoffman has followed a passion for music and the outdoors on an amazing journey that’s taken him from the quiet creeks and backwoods of his boyhood home to center stage in packed stadiums.
“I’m just a regular guy who’s gotten to live his wildest dreams,” he admits.
Hoffman’s path has taken fortuitous turns and scaled peaks even he never imagined possible. After running away to Branson to become a musician at 17, he spent more than a decade as country superstar Kenny Chesney’s ace fiddle player.
“I HAVE A VERY BUSY BRAIN. HUNTING HELPS ME SHUT IT DOWN AND FOCUS ON THE ENVIRONMENT AROUND ME.”
He also performed with a variety of other artists including John Mellencamp, the Steve Miller Band, Tim McGraw and Keith Urban, and helped forge a new high-octane country band The FARM, which to date has spawned a pair of top 40 hits on the country charts. In 2012, he won the Country Music Association’s coveted CMA-SRO Award for Touring Musician of the Year.
Most recently he launched the “Nick’s Wild Ride” television series. The show airs on the Outdoor Channel Friday nights at 7:30 EST beginning in July 2016, and has already taken him around the world on adventures many hunters only dream about.
Music and hunting are intertwined throughout the journey, and both trace back to Hoffman’s youth.
“I grew up in a musical family,” he begins. “My grandfather was a violin and fiddle player, and my grandma played piano. We had jam sessions at their house almost every weekend, and music was a huge part of our family’s life.” Following in his grandfather’s footsteps, Hoffman began playing the fiddle around the age of four. He poured himself into the craft and studied the works of top fiddle players including the legendary Charlie Daniels, who appears on the pilot of “Nick’s Wild Ride.”
A Start In The Outdoors
While honing his musical skills, Hoffman also developed a love of the outdoors. “It started with fishing,” he recalls. “My dad is a consummate bass fisherman. When I was young we had a bass boat and fished on local lakes and in northern Minnesota. Nobody in my family hunted, but I was drawn to that sport as well—something in my brain was calling me deeper into the outdoors.”
“I GREW UP IN A MUSICAL FAMILY. MY GRANDFATHER WAS A VIOLIN AND FIDDLE PLAYER, AND MY GRANDMA PLAYED PIANO. WE HAD JAM SESSIONS AT THEIR HOUSE ALMOST EVERY WEEKEND, AND MUSIC WAS A HUGE PART OF OUR FAMILY’S LIFE.”
At age 12, a neighbor nurtured Hoffman’s hunting passions by taking him firearms deer hunting in the rolling farm country near his home. “That totally sealed the deal for me,” he says. “I was hooked on hunting. Pretty soon I was hunting ducks with friends before school and chasing pheasants in the afternoon.” Today, Hoffman enjoys pursuing all types of game, but says waterfowl remain his favorite.
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