By Patty Draper
The 2016 National Wild Turkey Federation Choctaw County Chapter held a very successful banquet Saturday, March 5, at the Choctaw County Community Center. A little over 200 wildlife enthusiasts attended the event, which raised funds to help support local and national programs related to the wild turkey and other upland wildlife. A total of 17 guns were included in a huge auction of NWTF and wildlife related items, raffles, games, drawings and silent auctions.
A number of local and area businesses contributed door prizes including Ackerman Discount Drugs, Ackerman Furniture, Ackerman Finance, Inc., Art’s Place, Black Brothers Building Supply, Cagle’s Corner, Chalet (Mark Woods) of Starkville, Costa Mexican Restaurant, Choctaw Plaindealer, Dollar General of Ackerman, Dotz (Dot and Mike Thomas), Patty Draper, Fair Oil, Fred’s of Ackerman, Green South LLC (Charles and Teresa McMinn), Hair Central (Shelia Lance), Henson Feed, Henderson Auto Parts, Juli and Scott Hughes, Hunt’s Furniture and Mattress, Little Caesar’s of Louisville, Kim Kelly Photography, John Long of Cane Cutter Calls, Longbread Gunworks (Neal McMinn), Main Street Fabrics, MS Lignite Mining Company, Nail’s One Stop of Stewart, New Creations (Shanna Gammill), Oktibbeha County Co-op, Pap’s Place, Renasant Bank, Regions Bank, Sonny’s Smokehouse, Southern Belle, Southern Charm, Sparkle and Shine (Kelly Williams), Subway of Ackerman,
SuperValu, Matt Thomas, Tractor Supply of Starkville, Timberville, LLC of Vardaman, Walmart of Louisville and Starkville, and Winston County Co-op.
Special thanks to Choctaw County Career & Technology Center, Guns and Roses for being our NWTF gun broker, Neil McMinn for assistance with gun purchases, Forget-Me-Not Florist for decorations and Delta Telephone/Snap Cable and Choctaw County Plaindealer for advertisements.
Taylor Grocery of Oxford catered an outstanding dinner.
The Women In The Outdoors (WITO) members sold chances on a gift basket donated by Summer King and Southern Belle that was used to raise funds that will be given to the Broken Wings food pantry to provide turkeys/hams for Easter for needy families in the area.
Larry and Shelia Forrester donated several NWTF items that were auctioned to raise additional funds, which will be donated to the Broken Wings food pantry to provide Thanksgiving turkeys along with money that will be donated by the chapter. Helping provide turkeys for the needy each year is a regular project for the chapter. This additional donation will be greatly appreciated by the organization.
Major supporters of the local NWTF chapter include sponsors that are vital to the support of the local chapter and its programs. 2016 Sponsors at the time of the banquet include: Bowman Timber, Box Logging, Dakota Brasher Insurance Agency, LLC (Alfa Insurance), Brown Wood Preserving, Bryan Carrubba, Choctaw Regional Medical Center, Circle M, Inc., Coleman Funeral Home, Delta Telephone, Johnny and Patty Draper, Reid and Shannon Draper, FJH Inc., Henson Brothers Trucking, Flora Logging, Forrester and Associates, GOC LTD, Guns and Roses, Joey Loper, Hunt Construction (Derek Hunt), Jones Forest Management (Luke Jones), Charles and Teresa McMinn, Marcus Oswalt, Technical Appraisal (Greg Nowell), Jimmy Thomas, and Weeks Logging. Silver Sponsors were Mississippi Lignite Mining Company and Triple J Sawmill (Keith Parkerson). Gold Sponsor was Choctaw Generation, L.P.
For a number of years, former friend and volunteer with the Choctaw NWTF Chapter, Johnny Taylor has been remembered with a gun that is given to a youth to help promote his love of the outdoors and hunting. This year’s winner was Conner Nail, son of Mark and Kristy Nail. His children, Chance Taylor, Kerri Jo Taylor Whittington, and Leigh Taylor Thomas donated the gun.
The winner of the National 2016 NWTF JAKES gun, which is a gun given to a youth member of the NWTF (JAKES) was Allie Wood, 6 year-old-daughter of Taylor and Penny Wood of Brandon. Allie is the granddaughter of Jasper and Glennis Wood and Kat Wood and Mike Wood. Allie is the great-niece of Johnny Taylor.
An event like the NWTF Banquet would never occur without the hard work and dedication of volunteers. Committee members work months in advance lining up sponsors, selling tickets, obtaining door prizes, and working throughout the year promoting projects in the community related to education, habitat development, and community service. Committee members include Johnny (Chairman) and Patty Draper, Charles (Treasurer) and Teresa McMinn, Reid and Shannon Draper, Neal and Kayla McMinn, Mike and Dot Thomas, Morgan and Lynn Scribner, Scott Hughes, Juli Hughes, Perry Lee, Bo Studdie, and Smiley Madison. The regional director for NWTF for this banquet is Scot Marcin.
Education of youth in hunting skills is also an important aspect of the Choctaw NWTF County Chapter. These funds are used for training of volunteers and supplies for training and contests. Thanks to the support of so many in the county and area, the chapter plans to continue this assistance in future years.