NWTF Wraps Up Record-Breaking Convention and Sport Show
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The National Wild Turkey Federation's 35th annual National Convention and Sport Show was a fantastic success, with record 637 exhibitor booths sold and a near-record attendance.
There were 43,442 convention attendees, which narrowly missed the record of just over 44,000 people at the 2010 convention. MidwayUSA was the official sponsor of the convention.
"I am extremely pleased with this year's convention; I believe it was one of our best ever," said George Thornton, NWTF CEO. "Our volunteers showed up in force to support the NWTF's mission of conserving wildlife and preserving our hunting heritage, our vendors reported terrific sales at their booths, and everyone had a tremendous time at the newly renovated Gaylord Opryland hotel."
As part of the convention activities, the NWTF honored its top volunteers, chapters and partners. Among the highlights:
Michael Widner of Conway, Ark., won the Wayne Bailey Lifetime Achievement Award for excellence in conservation.
Cpl. Roger Tate of Evening Shade, Ark., was named the NWTF's 2011 National Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for exemplifying the very best in this challenging field. During the award ceremony, the NWTF also honored Wildlife Officer David L. Grove of Pennsylvania and USDA Forest Service Law Enforcement Officer Christopher Andy Upton of Georgia, who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2010.
Larry Becker of Gainesville, N.Y., Ronald Gleason of Greenfield, Mass., Mike Rainwater of Ruston, La., and David Truban of Morgantown W.Va., were honored with Roger M. Latham Sportmans Wild Turkey Service Awards for their significant contributions to wild turkey conservation.
The Wyoming, Arkansas, South Carolina and Illinois NWTF state chapters, and the Wekiva Springs Strutters of Apopka, Fla., took home the top L.A. Dixon Awards in their respective categories.
Chevrolet received the NWTF Corporate Achievement Award for the company's efforts to support conservation and our hunting heritage.
For more information regarding NWTF awards, click here.
The NWTF National Convention and Sport Show also is home to the NWTF Grand National Turkey Calling Championships, where the best callers in the world compete for $25,000 in cash and prizes. Shane Hendershot of Zanesville, Ohio, took home the top prize with his victory in the Senior Division. Hendershot also won the first ever Head-to Head competition, which pitted callers directly against each other. Anna Leigh McGraw won the Poult division and is the first female to win a Grand National Calling Championship since 1994.
The NWTF National Convention and Sport Show will return to Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center in Nashville on Feb. 9-12, 2012.