“There’s no better state than Kentucky to produce a show like ours,” Dave says. “We’ve got the history, the crafts, the nature, the great people and places—and we likely won’t ever run out of stories to tell.”
A native of Greensburg, Dave graduated from Murray State University in 1982 with a degree in communications. His early career took him from television news reporter in Bristol, VA to bureau chief at WLEX-TV18 in Lexington. From 1989 to 1995, he served as both host and producer of Kentucky Afield before moving on to pursue his own television series and production company. The resulting series, Outdoors with Dave Shuffett, was nationally syndicated.
The first five seasons of Kentucky Life were hosted by Byron Crawford. Dave returned to his Kentucky roots to join the show in the summer of 1999, for the series’ sixth season. In 2005, he was nominated for a regional Emmy Award for his role as host of the award-winning special edition Kentucky’s Last Great Places.
Dave is frequently accompanied by one or more of his canine “co-hosts.” Sadie, a mostly black border collie adopted from an animal shelter, was the first, joining the show in 2001. She retired from active hosting duty after five seasons. In the spring of 2005, happy-go-lucky golden retriever Charlie Boscoe made his Kentucky Life debut as a rambunctious 2-year-old, joining Dave and Sadie for a visit to Reelfoot Lake in the special Wild and Scenic Kentucky. (The photo above was taken on that trip.) The newest addition is Toby, another golden retriever, who was abandoned outside a power plant in Mercer County in early 2007. Paige Huston, a staff writer for the Harrodsburg Herald, took him home but couldn’t keep him permanently. Then she met Dave at a KET event, and he decided to add Toby to the family—and the program. [Read Toby’s story »]
One interesting note about Dave himself: He’s had the nickname “Mudcat” since he was about 6 years old.
“Getting dirty was what I did,” he recalls. “I had to have baths constantly. The name stuck back in my hometown. To this day, no one calls me ‘Dave’ back home.”
Mudcat now lives in rural Franklin County. He has two children, Willie and Miranda.