On September 30, 65 U.S. House and Senate Members of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus (CSC) and hundreds of leaders from the sportsmen’s community gathered in downtown Washington, DC for the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation’s (CSF) 26th Annual Banquet & Auction, “Honoring Sportsmen and Women: America’s True Conservationists.”
Geared to celebrate pro-sportsmen policy successes led by the CSC over the last year, this year’s Banquet focused on the benefits that hunters and anglers contributed to fish and wildlife conservation through the American System of Conservation Funding.
Prior to the Banquet, the first annual Chairman’s Club Lunch gathered CSF’s individual supporters. Mark DeYoung, CEO of Vista Outdoor Inc. and Chairman of the CSF Board of Directors welcomed the members. “The Chairman’s Club is made up of dedicated outdoors-oriented individuals who share a passion for wildlife, and support our national heritage of hunting and fishing. Thank you for joining CSF and supporting our mission to protect and advance our traditions as sportsmen and women,” said DeYoung. Following DeYoung, Richard Childress of Richard Childress Racing and CSF Honorary Board Member, highlighted the important role of the CSC and CSF as a voice for America’s sportsmen and women.
The evening was kicked off with a VIP reception, which welcomed guest speaker, CSC Member Congressman Paul Ryan (WI). “As a lifelong hunter, conservationist, and outdoorsman, it is a privilege to speak at the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation annual banquet. The values of sportsmen and women have been a focus throughout my career and I will continue to support the hunting traditions and rights we cherish. With hunting season underway in Wisconsin, I am looking forward to getting back out in the woods and enjoying the Wisconsin outdoors,” said Congressman Ryan.
During the Banquet, CSF President Jeff Crane thanked the CSC for 26 years of protecting and advancing the sportsmen’s heritage. “After a year of hard work on Capitol Hill, this is our opportunity to thank the CSC for their commitment to America’s sportsmen and women and to fish and wildlife conservation,” said Crane.
The Pledge of Allegiance and program opening was led by CSC leadership. Co-Chairs include: Senators Jim Risch (ID) and Joe Manchin (WV) and Congressmen Rob Wittman (VA) and Tim Walz (MN); and Vice-Chairs include: Senators Deb Fischer (NE) and Heidi Heitkamp (ND) and Congressmen Jeff Duncan (SC) and Gene Green (TX).
The 26th Annual Banquet & Auction Title Sponsors were the National Shooting Sports Foundation and Vista Outdoor Inc. Host Sponsors included: Diageo, Ford Motor Company, Hornady Manufacturing Co., ITC Holdings Corporation, Outdoor Sportsman Group, Safari Club International, Winchester Ammunition, and Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of America. Co-Host Sponsors included: Amgen, Anheuser-Busch Companies, LLC, Ash Grove Cement Company, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, Bass Pro Shops, Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, CropLife America, Crossroads Strategies, LLC, Dallas Safari Club, FMC Corporation, General Motors, Herbalife Nutrition, Houston Safari Club, Natural Resource Results, LLC, Remington, Richard Childress Racing, Shimano American Corporation, Smith & Wesson, and Yamaha Motor Corporation.
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?