Fate Boots Sacramento Chapter Leader to NWTF
Thanks to an amazing coincidence, Manny Marimontes has revived a dormant NWTF chapter and is leading a group of volunteers as they prepare for their first Hunting Heritage Banquet.
Marimontes is president of the NWTF's reorganized chapter in Sacramento, Calif., an area rich in wildlife, hunters and outdoor enthusiasts. The chapter will hold its first banquet in three years on April 26.
One night last July, Marimontes, an avid hunter, found the NWTF web site, www.nwtf.org, while looking for an organization involved in wild turkey conservation.
Growing up on a farm in the East Bay region near San Francisco, Marimontes had hunted mostly pigs, coyote and deer. But while he attended Sacramento State University and started a public relations and marketing career in that city, he began hunting ducks and wild turkey, too. He harvested a bird the first six spring seasons he turkey hunted, and was hooked.
"I was looking for an organization like they have for some other game birds," said Marimontes. "But I wanted something a little more intimate where I could be more involved."
The day after finding the NWTF site, he pulled into the parking lot of Boot Barn, a Western clothing store. The only other vehicle in the lot was a truck bearing NWTF decals.
Marimontes went in and saw the other customer, NWTF regional director Dan Haugh, was wearing an NWTF T-shirt. Haugh had begun his job only a month earlier.
"We got along well right away. We talked in the store for an hour or an hour and a half," Marimontes said. "We had lunch a few days later. The rest is history."
Soon, Haugh and fellow regional director Brian Azevedo, who also lives close to Sacramento, were mentoring Marimontes toward a goal of reviving the Sacramento chapter.
Besides conservation and turkey hunting, the trio has other common interests. Marimontes was a team roper, Haugh a rodeo rider. Marimontes and Azevedo are big San Francisco Giants fans.
"We've become good friends," Marimontes said. Haugh and Azevedo have prepared Marimontes for what is to come by taking him to nearby NWTF banquets.
Marimontes put together a committee of five of his hunting friends, plus a mutual friend of Haugh and Azevedo. The regional directors gave Marimontes contacts of members who had been active in the Sacramento chapter in the past.
"Little by little, we got in contact with people who used to volunteer and started getting them excited about volunteering again."
Marimontes hopes to sell 150 tickets to the first banquet, which will be held at Dante Club, a well-known Sacramento fine dining and banquet establishment.
"Dan and Brian have been very patient with me," Marimontes said. "It's been very smooth sailing."
But it hasn't been easy recruiting members and organizing a banquet for what had become an inactive chapter.
Still, Marimontes takes satisfaction in the early accomplishments and is eager to put on the event. He invites nearby NWTF members to attend the Sacramento banquet.
"The first thing I would tell people trying to start a chapter is not to be afraid to be creative," he said. "The NWTF is so strong in other areas, and you want to meet those expectations because you are doing something good. You have to be willing to get your hands dirty and put in some time. "But it's all been worth it. I guess it was meant to be."
For information on the Sacramento chapter and its upcoming banquet, contact Dan Haugh at (916) 871-9000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.