The movies have the Oscars; magazines have the ASME Awards. Every year, a panel of screeners and judges from the American Society of Magazine Editors meets at Columbia University to pick the best work in 20 different categories–Best Design, photography, essay, reporting, etc. The awards are called Ellies, because the statuettes look a little like elephants, or spiders, depending on your world view. This year there were 1,707 entries in 20 categories from 350 magazines.

Many magazines are never nominated. A comparative few are nominated nearly every year. Most will get a nomination two or three times in their life span. The top award–General Excellence–is the equivalent of Best Picture. It is the Big One. Over the past 20 years, Field & Stream has been nominated 14 times for various awards, and never won. This year, we were up for General Excellence in the 1- to 2-million circulation bracket. The other finalists were Bon Appetit, The New Yorker, Popular Science, and Vogue–all perennial winners.

But this year, by God, it was our turn. Field & Stream finally took an Ellie, and it was the top Ellie. The citation reads:

“Field & Stream, Anthony Licata, editor, for May, June, December/January issues. From tips on becoming a total outdoorsman to profiles of amputees reentering the world of hunting, Field & Stream respects its readers enough to challenge them. Like all great magazines, this one is much more ambitious than it needs to be and delivers the goods, but also provokes with content that is consistently savvy, witty and large-hearted. Nominated 14 times, this is Field & Stream’s first Ellie.”