Pageant Winner and Reality Show Contestant Sarah Beth Lawhorn Love of the Outdoors
Pageant winner and reality show contestant Sarah Beth Lawhorn shoots it straight on her love of the outdoors.Name: Sarah Beth Lawhorn
Hometown: Jackson, Ohio
Current Residence: Hocking Hills, Ohio
Hook & Barrel: You grew up in southeastern Ohio and still live there. Tell me about your childhood and how you discovered your love for all things outdoors.
Sarah Beth Lawhorn: I grew up in Jackson, Ohio, a very small rural community, and I was homeschooled until ninth grade. I have one brother, and he was homeschooled too. We didn’t have a television growing up, so we spent a lot of time outdoors. My dad and grandpa are both outdoorsmen, so at a young age we went mushroom hunting, trapping, fishing, and hunting with my dad. I was in a shooting club through 4H as a kid for seven or eight years—I started at eight years old—so that’s when I learned to love shooting. I always went hunting with my dad, but I didn’t start hunting myself until I was 13. He took me on my first turkey hunt. I have really great memories of hunting with my dad and brother. My passion for hunting didn’t really start until my mid twenties—that’s when I really started to hunt on my own.
HB: Do you remember your first big get on a hunting trip?
SBL: On the first day I went turkey hunting, I shot a turkey. I remember being so excited and happy, and my dad was so proud of me. I’ll never forget that memory. I still go turkey hunting with my dad to this day. I can’t keep up with my dad when we’re hunting—he outruns me.
HB: You bow hunt and rifle hunt—do you have a favorite?
SBL: I LOVE bow hunting—primarily white tail! That’s my absolutely favorite in the fall. I spend basically the whole fall and winter bow hunting. Even if it’s rifle season, I still bring my bow out. I just enjoy it more.
HB: What have been your most exciting places to hunt and why?
SBL: I went white tail hunting in south Louisiana, which was so fun. I harvested an eight-point buck. And I went elk hunting in Colorado last year. We backpacked in to our site and had to carry everything we needed for five days on our backs. I had to train to get ready for it. While we didn’t get an elk on that trip, I really enjoyed that experience—just being out in the middle of nowhere with no one around.
HB: I saw that you were on a show called For Love or Likes on the Outdoor Channel—tell me about that experience.
SBL: It was a women’s hunting competition show in Louisiana where we competed to see who could get the biggest buck. It was filmed in the fall of 2018 and aired in spring 2019. They put us through challenges and field competitions. I don’t have a lot of female friends who hunt, so it was nice to be around other female hunters. There were four of us. We had an amazing week of hunting and bonding and doing all things outdoors. At the end, I tied with my roommate for the win.
HB: I also saw a pageant picture—are you a pageant girl?
SBL: I was Miss Ohio USA in 2015 and competed in the Miss USA pageant that year in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I was very shy growing up and a total tomboy, always outside. I did my first pageant to bring myself out of my shell and help build my confidence. I started competing and was in my first Miss Ohio pageant in 2010. At first I didn’t talk about hunting or my love of the outdoors. The year that I won though, I was truly myself, and that is what helped. My pageant platform was encouraging women and youth to get involved in hunting and to enjoy the outdoors.
HB: So speaking of that, how do you encourage that in other women and young people to get involved in outdoor sports?
SBL: I always say if you know someone who hunts or fishes, ask them to take you out so you can learn the ropes. If you don’t know anyone but are interested, take a local hunter education course. You can also watch YouTube videos to learn. There are so many resources available now. I think women can be intimidated by hunting since it seems like such a male-driven sport. But it’s so empowering to be a female hunter. You can be self-sufficient, you can survive on your own, you can harvest the game and prepare the game yourself and feed your family with organic meat you harvested. It’s a very rewarding feeling to be a female hunter.
HB: Describe your perfect day hunting?
SBL: My dream day would be waking up in a cabin in the mountains with my husband. We’d go fly-fishing on a river or elk hunting. We’d spend the entire day hiking and seeing amazing views and chasing elk, and in the evening we’d sit around a campfire.
HB: Speaking of your husband, do you hunt together?
SBL: His name is Cody, and we’ve been married for three years. When we went on our first hunt together, we had only been dating four or five months. He had never been hunting with a girl before. He was really nervous. We went turkey hunting, and I shot a turkey within 20 minutes of daylight on opening day—just dropped the bird. And he was like ‘ok you know what you’re doing!’ Since then we’ve been hunting partners and do everything together outdoors.
HB: What do you like to do outdoors in addition to hunting?
SBL: We kayak, hike, and ride ATVs. The outdoors is where I’m happiest. I feel like once you’re in nature, it brings you peace. There’s so much to learn and enjoy in nature.
HB: You have 100,000 Instagram followers. What role does social media play in your life.
SBL: In the outdoors industry, social media plays a huge role. That’s how I’ve been able to grow my following and get opportunities to meet people and be on the Outdoor Channel. I am able to connect with people around the country and the world. That’s why I love social media.
HB: Future plans?
SBL: I’d like to have more opportunities and time to hunt. One day, Cody and I would like to start our own business—maybe cabin rentals or start a wedding venue. The area we live in is a touristy area so it would be perfect for that.