Hailing from Ripon, Calif., John Kamps grew up hunting pheasant, duck and deer with his father. After graduating high school, he attended Georgia Techthen moved south to the town of Pomona for three years before making the trek back to Ripon.
The propane industry is a Kamps family affair. John’s dad was in the industry since 1949, but John’s foray into the business put him in direct competition with his dad. When John’s dad decided shortly after that it was a good time to retire, John started Kamps Propane. The multi-faceted business includes home propane deliveries, retail sales to private homes and wholesaling to large businesses all the way to North Dakota and most states in between.
John’s wife, Jillian, is originally from Stockton, Calif. The two met during a traffic jam in Manteca, Calif. They have been married for 18 years and have two daughters.
In 1989 John went on his first safari, where he ambitiously took the Big Five. It was a seminal moment for John Kamps and the start of a life that would include hunting in exotic lands. He was hooked. But, John is an equal opportunity hunter who enjoys all types of game and is willing to travel great distances in the pursuit. Hunting sheep is particularly challenging and appealing to him, but when pressed to pick a favorite game animal, John explains he has no favorites as each offers a unique challenge.
Jill shares John’s enthusiasm for hunting and is a natural wing shooter—so much so that she has an easier time hitting moving game than game that is static. This was evident when the two were hunting in New Zealand and Jill missed a fallow deer from a rest. When the shot spurred the animal to run, she casually swung her rifle and hit the running deer—at 220 yards!
Active in the past with Safari Club International (SCI) and Ducks Unlimited (DU), the Kamps’ attended the NRA Annual Meetings for the first time a number of years ago. The hook was set, and they have been involved ever since as active members of the NRA Ring of Freedom. Jill found a large group of like-minded ladies through the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum and now even has their daughters involved. The Kamps’ are truly an NRA family.
John and Jill are members of the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum’s (HLF) President’s Founders Club. Being avid hunters, they naturally gravitated to the HLF. The Kamps’ have hunted virtually every continent and have faced the many issues that affect the traveling hunter. Anyone who has traveled internationally with firearms knows there are a modicum of problems that can arise when dealing with customs, laws and bureaucracies of foreign countries. Having faced many of these obstacles, John and Jill feel there is only one organization that is actually strong enough and has the clout to affect change with policy makers, and that organization is the NRA.
John Kamps explains, “Many organizations have a narrow focus. While they do good work, the NRA is the only organization with the clout to actually address issues critical to hunters and gun owners. This is why I am so excited about HLF and I am happy to help raise money for causes that affect hunters worldwide.”