WINCHESTER - For about a decade, Winchester resident Steve Caudill has portrayed frontiersman Daniel Boone for festivals and schoolchildren.
Beginning in June, Caudill's performances and business will move to a national level as he becomes the official re-enactor for The Boone Society in its programs and plans.
"My goodness, it is a deep honor," Caudill said.
The decision was announced April 15 by Boone Society President Sam Compton. Caudill's first appearance for the society will be in June at Cumberland Gap State Park near Middlesboro for the dedication of the Boone Trace, he said.
"We've known of Steve Caudill for a number of years," Compton said. "(He) came to a Boone Reunion in Lexington about six years ago and he was invited to come and make a Daniel Boone presentation. He made an absolutely jaw-dropping presentation."
It's something Caudill, a descendant of Daniel Boone's brother Squire Boone Jr., has worked to perfect after retiring as a detective in law enforcement.
"The Boone family thinks my message is right," Caudill said. "They've watched me over the last 10 years. We take the message out. Who was Boone? He was like us. He wanted to be free. He wanted a place to call home. He wanted to be able to worship his God."
Word is just beginning to spread of the society hiring Caudill to succeed Scott New as the official Daniel Boone, Compton said. New became less and less available, Compton said, where Boone is Caudill's profession. If the society's plans all come to fruition, Caudill will be a busy man.
The first thing is the dedication of the Boone Trace, which is a corridor from Cumberland Gap at the borders of Virginia, Tennessee and Kentucky to Fort Boonesborough on the Kentucky River near Winchester. Along the way will be stations with information about Boone and his relationship to that location as well as video clips accessible by smartphone, Compton said. Caudill would portray Boone in those clips, he said, which the Boone Society is developing with the Kentucky Historical Society.
Compton said the society has been working with a number of groups to network and develop the Trace as well as curriculums based on Daniel Boone, his life and his influence through the early years of the nation.
"Long term, we want Steve Caudill to represent Daniel Boone for the Boone Society and the Boone Trace in all its aspects," Compton said.
Studying Boone has been a long-time interest for Caudill.
"It has a lot to do with being raised in this area where his life is so prevalent," Caudill said. "I was raised with all the stories of Boone living here in Clark County."
Part of that is educating the public on all the facets of Boone, not just those popularized by television or movies, and his faith.
"We are a public witness for our Lord and savior," Caudill said. "The message has not changed in 200 years. We did. That's what the founding fathers based this country on and that's what we are taking back to the people."