September 20, 2012 (Washington, DC) – On September 19, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation (CSF) held its 23rd Annual Banquet & Auction themed “A Celebration of America’s Sporting Heritage” at the Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. CSF welcomed over 50 members of Congress, and over 600 other guests including government officials, congressional staff and outdoor industry representatives.
This year’s banquet theme is significant as it coincides with the 75th Anniversary of the highly successful Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration (WSFR) programs. WSFR is a key component of the user-pays, public-benefits structure of the American System of Conservation Funding, which provides the vast majority of funding for state fish and wildlife agencies.
CSF’s annual banquet provided a forum for the sportsmen’s and conservation community to gather and celebrate the strides CSF, the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) and the National Assembly of Sportsmen’s Caucuses (NASC) have made in supporting America’s fish and wildlife resources.
CSF President Jeff Crane stated, “We work with members of the caucuses every day on issues of importance in keeping sportsmen and women active in hunting, fishing and the shooting sports, and the banquet is the best opportunity we have all year to thank them for their diligence.”
The evening was kicked off with a VIP reception hosted by the Outdoor Channel and Safari Club International. Among those in attendance was five-time competitive shooting Olympic gold medalist, Kim Rhode. Rhode spoke to the crowd of members of the CSC and leaders in the hunting and fishing conservation community about her experience growing up as a sportswoman. “The outdoors and shooting sports have played an important part in my life. Events like these are important for paving the way for the future generations of sportsmen and women,” Rhode stated.
The reception was followed by a raffle and silent auction that provided an opportunity for members of the hunting and fishing community and elected officials to gather and support the mission of CSF. Included in the auction items were: guided hunting and fishing trips, vacation getaways, rifles, shotguns, pistols, furs and other exciting items.
The dinner’s speakers included CSC leadership, distinguished outdoor-industry partners and former CSC member and Chairman of the CSF Board of Directors, the Honorable Lindsay Thomas. “It is wonderful to be able to see firsthand the tremendous growth of the Foundation and the Caucus, and the leaps and bounds made in the sportsmen’s community. It’s hard to imagine America without the hunting and fishing tradition.” Thomas stated.
The title sponsors of the 23rd Annual Banquet and Auction were ATK and the National Shooting Sports Foundation. The Host Sponsors included Diageo, Ford, InterMedia Outdoors, Outdoor Channel, Peabody Energy, Safari Club International, Sportsman Channel and Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America. The co-host sponsors were Amgen, Ash Grove Cement Company, Cabela’s, CropLife, Dallas Safari Club, Independent Petroleum Association of America, Lockheed Martin, Natural Resource Results, Richard Childress Racing, Shimano and Yamaha.
Studies conducted at both the state and federal level have found that the number of hunters and trappers have been on a generally declining trend over the past several decades. To increase recruitment, retention, and reactivation (R3) of hunters and trappers, which initiative do you think would have the greatest impact?