18th Annual Hunting Heritage Banquet

Photo by Shari Harris
The NWTF Gun of the Year was on display. This 12-gauge shotgun, a Benelli M2, was awarded the honor for 2019.
By Shari Harris,
Co-Publisher

The Nolan R. Hutcheson Memorial Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation held their annual banquet Friday at the Intercounty Electric Auditorium. Outdoorsmen and women filled the room, partaking in raffles galore, auctions, demonstrations of the latest in hunting technology, and don’t forget the food.
An estimated 125 attendees were present for the evening. Chantil Richards’ Country Seasons Catering provided lasagna, country fried turkey, green beans, salad, homemade rolls, and more, followed by Mississippi mud bars and coconut cream cake. This feast was sure to please.
Raffles included a Sportsman’s Raffle, which included four guns and a variety of hunting equipment, a Turkey Pluck Raffle, a Ladies’ Raffle, a Tactacam Raffle, a gun raffle and more.
The NWTF gun of the year was on display. This year, a Benelli M2 12-gauge shotgun was awarded the honor.
Tactacam demonstrated their equipment, which included a camera that records the image you see through your scope.
The walls of the auditorium were lined with items to be auctioned after the meal.

Photo by Shari Harris
Rep. Robert Ross, Commissioner John Casey, and some young hunters gather around a table to see the hunting items on display.
Of the 100 banquets held statewide, this NWTF banquet is the only one held in Texas County. It is a fundraising event for the many programs the NWTF supports.
In 2019, 23 NWTF projects in Missouri were funded with $150,195 going to equipment, habitat and research. Fifteen projects related to support of educational and community programs received $24,725. Support of shooting sports and mentored hunts garnered $19,050 in funding for 10 projects.
Scholarships are available through the NWTF, with $28,000 awarded in 2019 (nine percent of total funding awarded). A $300 scholarship is available each year for this chapter. Seniors with a background in conservation need to contact Randy Lewis by December 1 to apply for the scholarship.
Larry Neal, NWTF Senior Regional Director, explained that locally, NWTF provides grants to the 4-H and local schools to support hunting sports. Last year, Missouri NWTF purchased five trap-throwers for the local 4-H shooters. Prior to that, NWTF had purchased ten 3-D targets for 4-H archers. Funds have been provided in the past for shells and supplies for hunting sports as well. This year, two grants are being worked on for the local area.
Banquet committee members did an excellent job preparing for the evening, with tables filled with hunting equipment and auction items encircling the room. This year’s banquet committee, chaired by Randy Lewis, also included David Hatch, Brad Richards, Allan Branstetter, Don Knaebel, Trenton Polm, Jan Watson, Tim Schwent, Melissa Lewis, Brayden Smith, Pierce Ford, and Cade Richards. The committee extended special thanks to Rick Dixon – Dixon Auction Service and to Matt Sullins – Sullins Gun & Pawn.
Sponsors made the night possible. Table sponsors were Fairground Auto Plaza, Rolla; Hammond Feed, Mike Hammond, Licking; Storm Farms and Kyle Smith Insurance Agency; and Painting MO, LLC, Luke Wade.
Other sponsors included: Big Piney Sportsman’s Club; Friend True Value Lumber; Polm’s Handyman Services; Hawn Law Office, LLC; Hatch Insurance Agency, Lewis & Sons Service Station, Shadowmere Forest Farm; VIP Properties, Jan Watson; Big Country 99; State Farm Insurance, Justin Shelby; Family Dentistry; PJ’s CafĂ©; Gifford Farm and Trucking; Texas County Memorial Hospital; Community Crossroads Church; Representative Robert Ross, District 142; Don and Stephanie Knaebel; Tim Schwent; Parts City Auto Parts; Town & Country Bank; Bean Creek Outdoors, Randy & Lucas Adey; Association of Mo. Electric Cooperatives; Landmark Bank, Licking; The Three Fords’ Farm; Darin’s Body Shop; Salem Livestock Auction; NAPA Auto Parts; and Shelter Insurance, David Keeney.
Donors were also appreciated and included Bean Creek Outdoors; Big Piney Taxidermy; Olig’s BBQ; Hood’s Frosty Treat; Don and Stephanie Knaebel; Fly Creek, LLC; The Eatin’ Place; Piney River Brewing Company; and Right Away Rent-to-Own & Payday Loan.

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