Faith and a TV Show


The Beginning

May 9th 2008 a beautiful little girl came in to my life.  When Leigh and I got up that morning for a scheduled C section, the only thing on my mind was to make sure my wife was going to be in as little pain as possible.  Also, that I was going to only see what I needed to see and mostly hide behind a sheet during the gory stuff.  We had everything ready to bring Grayton Karleigh Creekbaum to our home.  I was going to be the best father I could be, knowing very little to what that even met.  I was going to teach her everything I know.  At the time it was going to be easy, I don't know all that much.  I certainly had no idea that this precious little angel was going to teach me to be a man.

When this little girl entered my world I was arrogant, soon to be overweight and had the world by the tail.  My business was a huge success and growing by leaps and bounds.  I was pretty sure I was the only one responsible for this great mind.  I married a beautiful lady way out of my league, but was quite sure I deserved her.  Leigh and I were in the process of piecing together a farm where we had built a log cabin to spend the weekends managing wildlife.  I shared duck blinds with political leaders and well to dos.  I was a pretty big deal!  As far as I knew, this was just the beginning; I was going to be a really big deal!

Eight pounds two ounces came into my world and took me to my knees.  I found a baby girl that had toughness and a stubborn tenacity (one of my best friends favorite words) to humble me in seconds.  This girl had a lot of fight in her.

When Grayton entered our world, she had nothing to say.  I immediately had a sinking in my heart as a knot formed in my gut.  I knew then something had gone terribly wrong, and as I looked into Leigh's eyes I could see she felt it too.  Chaos ensued as doctors and nurses scrambled to find out why my angel has not cried.  All I wanted to do was fix it!  They whisked me to another room following Grayton to the NICU as they put her on a ventilator to help her breath.  I had to leave my wife as she was being stitched up and could only imagine her fears.  I was alone and scared.  I certainly could not show vulnerability now, I'm a dad, and I've got to be tough, strong and wise.  I've got to fix this!  Within minutes that seemed to be hours I was following an ambulance from one hospital to another where they would be able to perform an emergency surgery to save my daughter.  I have not held her yet; I need to let her know I am here and that everything is going to be okay.  As I waited in a room, wondering how Leigh was doing, a Chaplain came to for prayer.  His last name was Pew.  Shhwoo!!  That's like an ice cream man's last name being Cone.  This is the right guy.  Soon after our prayer the doctor came in to tell me she is stable and on a life support machine. :" X-rays have shown us that Grayton has a diaphragmatic hernia.  A hole in her diaphragm has allowed her liver and intestines to move into her lung cavity taking up space not allowing her lungs to fully develop.  As soon as she is stable, and can breathe on a ventilator, we will perform a surgery to move everything where it is supposed to be," the doctor explained.

"I did not realize it at the time, but looking back, that is the day God looked directly into my eyes and said you are not alone"

In that moment, with all the world spinning around me, I found a piece and strength I never had before.  As I walked up to my beautiful baby girl, with wires and hoses all around and in her, I was a daddy.  Nothing but a daddy, and she was daddy's little girl.  I put my finger in her hand and she squeezed it as she looked right into my eyes.  I did not realize it at the time, but looking back, that is the day God looked directly into my eyes and said you are not alone.

Now I needed to be a husband.  I don't remember much about the drive across town.  I just needed to get back to Leigh.  She was in recovery and had no idea what was going on.  When I walked in to hospital room, people were everywhere.  Every one of them staring at me waiting for an answer I wasn't sure I would have.   I told them what the doctors told me, and they all looked as if they knew what I was talking about.  None of them had a clue.   I just needed them to leave.  This was my time to be a rock for my bride.   I sat with her and talked about how great the doctors were and how the nurses were so professional.  I wanted to say, everything is going to be okay, and I was going to fix it.  I couldn't fix it, but I would do anything if God would let me.

On June 22nd, 2008 daddy's little girl's heart gave all that it could.  On June 23rd, 2008 I was standing in a church speaking to friends and family trying to explain why this was all going to be okay.  I was a husband, a son, and a father saying goodbye to my daughter.  I thanked God for giving me a daughter that taught me strength, compassion and stubborn tenacity.  He gave me a daughter that never disappointed me.  I was so proud of her.  That is the day I became a man.

"No more self-guiding, but we went to our knees and closed our eyes as Father lead us to where we are today"

I still wipe the tears from my eyes as I tell our story.  It isn't sad though, it's beautiful!  I am hard headed and stubborn and as God got through my thick skull he gave my stubbornness some tenacity.  Leigh and I were on a path and now we were able to just follow it.  No more self-guiding, but we went to our knees and closed our eyes as Father lead us to where we are today.

September 17th, 2009 our gift came to us.  Gray Kennedy Creekbaum was born and our new journey was waiting on us.  In January of 2010 Leigh and I found ourselves in Columbus, OH walking around a convention center where we met all of our favorite outdoor televisions stars.  I shook hands with Michael Wadell.  Leigh and I were debuting for The Campbell Outdoor Challenge.  We had no idea how or why we were here, but God had put us in outdoor television.

I didn't know it at the time, but I was about to meet someone that will forever change my life.  As Leigh and I were looking at a prototype ground blind at the ScentBlocker booth, a familiar face walked up to introduce himself.  Keep in mind, I never missed an Outdoor Channel show.  Leigh on the other hand liked outdoor TV because they whispered and made for good nap time.  Leigh reaches her hand out and says, "Hi, I'm Leigh and this is my husband Travis."  I'm not embarrassed to say I was a little star struck, but I found my courage, stuck my hand out and said, "um, hi"  I just said "um, hi" to Scott Shultz, CEO of Robinson Outdoors, 3 time World Archery Champion, and Drury's Dream Season among other things.  Um, hi!

"it would turn out to be the place ScentBlocker's The Chase with Leigh & Travis was born"

He spent the next several minutes showing their new ground blind with ScentBlockers technology.  The name of this blind was called Ground Zero.  We talked shop and we talk personally.  The blind never made it to production, for reasons not important, but it would turn out to be the place ScentBlocker's The Chase with Leigh & Travis was born.  This was Ground Zero!  This is where my spiritual transformation took its next step.

Scott Shultz is not only one of my best friends on earth, he is my spiritual advisor.  He and his lovely wife Peggy are so important to Leigh and I, I have no words.  I have found that I have so much to learn, and I can't wait till the next trip to learn more.  At first we thought we had a hunting show.  We have been all over the world in a short period of time.  We hunted caribou in Northern, Northern Quebec. Not a typo, I just wanted to explain how far north.  We have shared two trips to New Zealand with Scott where we chased the elusive Red Stag.  We took trips to the Dark Continent chasing plains game.  We traveled all through the Midwest after my favorite, whitetail deer.  I have shared camp bear hunting with the famous Uncle Ted.  Leigh and I have done things I never ever dreamed could be done.  I am sharing all of this with my wife and son.  This is the happiness Father intended.  Father is living his life through me!  I am sure your thinking the hunting is what is making me so happy.  Hunting is just a vehicle to get to where true happiness is found.

The people we meet and the fellowships we share are what the happiness is about.  The partners of our show are the true blessings.  When we walk through the doors of Robinson Outdoors in Canon Falls, MN we are greeted with love and friendships throughout the building.  Scott has created a culture at Robinson of hard work and passion.  Everyone is on board.  Scott has even hired a Company Chaplain, Tom Paige who has not only touched our lives permanently, but the whole Outdoor industry with weekly posts and teachings of Father.  Then there are our friends to the east in Pennsylvania.  Wasp Archery is a company wholly owned by the Weaver family, and talking about a relationship given by God.  When you get to know people like this, you know that the passion to succeed and share is strong. Broad heads made in the USA!  Travel south to our home and we have another family owned business and friends galore.  Pradco is the owner of some of our favorite brands in Summit, Knight & Hale, Moultrie and the largest line of fishing brands in the industry.  We are able to witness the passion of this industry through all of its employees.  The Faith and Patriotic passion is second to none.  Indiana has another American success story with our relationship with Scott Pet, the makers of Big Tine Supplemental Deer Feed.   A family started making dog collars in their living room and is now supplying major stores with pet supplies and treats all around the country.   Christianity and Free Capitalism is truly the only thing "too big to fail."

So, when I am sitting aloft in a tree, waiting for a monster whitetail to come my way, I look at my Mathews bow, and think of the work done to make this moment possible.  How Father has linked us all together.  Father has not only made all of these things possible for us, He has made them so that he can enjoy them by living through us.

Travis Creekbaum
Host ScentBlocker's The Chase with Leigh & Travis


  • Mike

    What an incredible story. Thank you for sharing what is such a deeper perspective than what what you might catch on an episode. Wow.

  • Mardi

    Incredible testimony. From the moment I was introduced to you and Leigh, I knew God was at work. The faith that shines through y'all lights a path for all to see. Thank you for your tenacity! May God continue to use you as a vessel.

  • Mike Faglier
    Mike Faglier - July 22, 2014 at 7:56 pm

    Tear's came to my eye's as I read of the loss of your baby girl. My wife and I loss our sweet Mary Grace on January,8 2014.She was almost 6 month's old. We miss so much. Sometimes it's hard to understand that we are not in control, but God is. God, family and a love for outdoors will see us through. Thank you for sharing testimony.

  • Charles

    A wonderful testimony, may God bless your family! I, too, can testify to the tenacity that Grayton, "The Queen of ECMO", showed during her time on Earth.

  • Chuck&Shirley
    Chuck&Shirley - July 23, 2014 at 10:44 am

    You are two very strong young people with great adventures that lie before you. Gray is one very blessed little boy! It is truly amazing what Faith and Love can do to pull us through so many challenges that we are faced with daily.

  • John Marshall
    John Marshall - July 29, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    Tenacity! Use it only according to God's will. Without doubt Travis God has molded you and given you complete awareness of his true word. Study hard to become a powerful steadfast example of what he wants to do for all mankind. As you confess your faith and continue your focus on his word, i pray that he will continue to bless you and all you hold dear. Love you Creekbaums!

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