Wilcox County Longbeards
Town: Camden, Ala.
President: John Barrett Travis
Vice President: Danny McDonald
Banquet Chairman: William Malone Jr.
Banquet: March 14, 2009
Your banquet usually sells out attendance; how do you get the word out?
We advertise in the local newspaper a little, and we place posters around town, but our largest push is conducted a month in advance when we send reminder letters to the last three years' attendees. We really feel that the letter is a huge help. After that, the rest is word of mouth.
What is it about your banquet that gets people so excited?
We have a few things going for us when we're planning our banquet. To start, we keep everything flowing well to get everyone home at a reasonable hour. We also have a talented auctioneer who really gets the crowd into the live auction. Of course, being in a rural community without a lot of competition, does help. However, for whatever reason we sell out of tickets every year.
What does your banquet do that might be different from other NWTF chapters?
I don't know if it's different, but we put a lot of emphasis on having a great meal. We bring in a highly reputable caterer to conduct our seafood buffet. We have never tried to go a cheaper route, and that helps sell tickets.
Has the Internet enabled you to spread the NWTF message? If so, how?
The Internet helped bring the NWTF's good work to the fingertips of our members. It's good to have the information readily available to communicate to the members whenever questions arise.
What game, raffle or activity just seems to really work at your banquet? Why do you think this is so?
We like to change things a little every year to keep it interesting. Chris Adams, Alabama regional director, does a great job in bringing us new and exciting raffle options. However, the wingspan, where the purchaser receives as many raffle tickets as their arms are long, remains a crowd pleaser.
What NWTF program is most important to your chapter?
Our chapter has put a lot of resources into the JAKES program. Keeping our youth interested in hunting is critical to the future of conservation. We partner with the Conservation Department to conduct youth dove hunts and we give turkey calls to every JAKES member that attends the banquet.
Why is your chapter's banquet is so successful?
We have a dozen talented committee members who work very hard for the NWTF. The community is rural and hunting brings a lot of money into our economy. The residents here recognize what the NWTF is doing to support not just the wild turkeys, but our hunting heritage in general. Plus, we have a lot of fun at our banquet. It is not a hard to sell the NWTF to people that love America's hunting heritage. We just wish we had a bigger building so we could sell more tickets!