It began with a dynamite meal earlier this month at the Ruston Civic Center when the 8th annual fund raising banquet for Whitetails Unlimited was launched. Have you ever had the Log Cabin’s “Catfish Opelousas” meal? A catfish filet resting on a bed of rice with crawfish etouffee drizzled over the top was “slap yo mama” good.
What followed was a series of events that saw multiple attendees put their hands around valuable prizes from dozens of guns, prized works of art, gun safes, hunting bows topped off by a trio of unusual but coveted prizes, a Lane Burroughs helmet donated by the Louisiana Tech baseball coach, a guitar autographed by Hank Williams Jr and a Cincinnati Bengals helmet autographed by none other than Heisman Trophy winner and quarterback of LSU’s national championship, Joe Burrow.
There was one “fly in the ointment” that kept the crowd a bit lower than in years past. Several other events in the community were taking place at the same time which meant scores of folks who would have attended were obligated to take part in some of the other important activities.
Even so, there were more than 350 men, ladies and youngsters in attendance who forked over some $70,000 in gross proceeds. Once expenses were paid to finance the banquet half of the net proceeds stayed in my community to assist local groups that promote outdoors activities.
Since the banquet was first held eight years ago and despite COVID knocking out the event for two years, here are some of the groups that have received benefits from funds raised at the annual banquets. It’s no small piece of change when you consider that over the years, Whitetails Unlimited has invested over $100,000 in this one particular community.
A partial listing of groups that have benefitted from these funds include the Lincoln Parish Archery Range, Lincoln Parish 4-H Shooting Sports, Med Camps of Louisiana, Tech Scholarship Fishing Team, Lincoln Parish Sheriff’s Office K-9 Fund, Lincoln Parish National Rifle Association chapter, Lincoln Parish Ducks Unlimited, Trailblazer, the National Wild Turkey Federation, Lincoln Parish Livestock Club and Louisiana AIM.
This year’s banquet was spearheaded by a heads-up group of volunteers headed by chairman Brandon Williams.
“Knowing that we had competition this year because of other events being scheduled the same night, we ended up about where we thought we would,” said Williams.
Since the Lincoln Parish chapter of Whitetails Unlimited became a popular organization eight years ago, the attendance and funds raised caught the attention of national headquarters. After the first year of local operation the national chairman of the organization, Jeff Schinkten, flew down from Wisconsin to present the Lincoln Parish chapter with national honors as the chapter had immediately risen to the top nationally in raising funds and in banquet attendance.
Except for the two years when COVID stopped things, this event has caught the attention of area folks as well because of the popularity of the annual get together. However, for the success to continue, something is badly needed, something chairman Williams addressed.
“Although we have had a fantastic group of volunteers working with us to put on our annual banquet, we are always looking for other folks willing to work with us,” said Williams. “We would love to have more volunteers.”
If you’d like to have a hand in seeing this organization continue to grow, visit Lincoln Parish Whitetails Unlimited on Facebook to offer your services. If you’re elsewhere, look for your local Whitetails Unlimited group and consider getting involved if you’re not already.
Contact Glynn at email@example.com