The inaugural banquet of the newly formed Ruston Area Whitetail Unlimited chapter is officially in the books and from all accounts the banquet committee knocked it out of the park.
I have been part of a number of such banquets over the years and I came away from last week’s banquet thoroughly impressed. The crowd was large – some 450 attended with many of them being women and children – the bidding on valuable prizes was spirited, the barbecued chicken meal was tasty and even those who walked away without winning a prize realized they’d been part of something special.
A tip of the hat has to go to Glenn Scriber, chairman of the new chapter, co-chairman Marty Edmunds and the hard-working committee. We visited with Scriber after the banquet and he was humbled by the cooperation he received from his committee members.
“This thing just sort of exploded on us and really exceeded our expectations. We counted some 450 that came out on Thursday, a school night, bringing youngsters and wives. I can’t say enough about the cooperation we had from everybody involved,” Scriber said.
“There are several reasons for the banquet’s success. It’s something new because this was the first Whitetails Unlimited banquet we’ve had here. Most of the guys on the committee work other groups so the experience of hosting such an event was made easier because they’ve done similar banquets before.”
Whitetails Unlimited has a different way of handling the funds that are brought in at banquets. Once expenses are paid and the net amount has been determined, one half of the net amount stays with the local chapter to finance projects unique to the area.
“We have already formulated plans to helping fund a 4-H Club archery team and maybe a shotgun team. Also,” Scriber added, “we have learned that Trailblazers do lots of interesting things conservation-wise in the outdoors and we’re open to helping in that endeavor. There are other feelers out now and we’ll be meeting soon with our committee to flesh out more plans.”
Brian Andrews is Field Director of Whitetails Unlimited for Louisiana, south Arkansas and east Texas. Andrews coordinated the program on banquet night and was impressed with the results he saw from this initial banquet of the newly-formed chapter.
“I have never worked with a committee like this one. I mean, there was never a bobble in anything putting it all together,” said Andrews. “Another exciting thing we expect to come out of this is there is an excellent chance that the Ruston Area chapter will be the highest grossing new chapter ever of the 600 banquets we do across the nation each year, and that’s really saying something.”
Although final figures have yet to be determined, it appears that the event last Thursday night grossed just over a whopping $70,000.
“My expectations are that after all expenses are paid, the local chapter will have one half of the net proceeds which should be the neighborhood of $20,000 to be spent on local projects,” Andrews said.
“One thing I really liked was this banquet was a family-friendly event with lots of ladies and youngsters there. We saw to it,” Andrews added, “that every youngster went home with a prize of some kind.”
Hats off to Glenn Scriber, Marty Edmunds and others on the committee for pulling off one heck of an event.