IT WAS ANOTHER ONE for the books, literally and figuratively. Of course, I’m talking about the Pope and Young Club’s 31st Biennial Convention in Omaha this past April. The most recent gathering was my 20th since my first convention as an Associate Member in 1971 and my 19th consecutive since the Milwaukee event in 1983, where I was honored to be Guest Speaker. I’m now a Senior Member (in more ways than one) and have gained enough experience over the decades to be a pretty fair country judge at comparing these every-other-year much-anticipated P&Y assemblies of members, guests, and trophy animals.
So as unofficial but veteran judge, I’m giving the Omaha convention a big thumbs-up for quality and content. Here’s why:
*The big game displays were simply awesome. That judgment call is based on both quality and quantity. Five new World Records were announced, including Alaska Brown Bear, Non-typical Coues Deer, Typical Mule Deer, Non-Typical Mule Deer, and Bighorn Sheep. Chris Cammack’s Alaskan brownie scored 29-4/16 inches, edging out Jack Brittingham’s giant WR bruin by a mere one-sixteenth of an inch. Wes Ely’s non-typical Coues buck scored 139-2/8, nudging past Terry Edwards’ former World Record by one-eighth of an inch. Frank Cheeney’s typical muley officially scored 209-6/8 inches, topping the 205-inch George Harms WR buck. Dennis Bennett’s non-typical mule deer scored 291-5/8, dethroning Ken Plank’s 274-7/8-inch WR buck. And last but far from least was Clay Miller’s giant South Dakota bighorn ram that taped 209-1/8 inches and topped Todd Kirk’s 199-5/8 WR former ram by nearly 10 inches.
*Records Chair Ed Fanchin announced a total of 5,361 trophy-class animals were entered and accepted during the 31st Biennial Recording Period. Incidentally that boosts the Pope and Young Club’s total number of entries to 113,963.
*Friday Night Banquet speaker Donald Trump, Jr., an avid bowhunter, entertained the large and enthusiastic crowd. Don Jr.’s recollections of his love for archery, and personal anecdotes describing what it’s like to be a President’s son, earned him a standing ovation at the conclusion of his talk.
*Post-convention feedback ranged from “best ever” and “great” to other favorable comments. Saturday’s popular fund-raising live auction “exceeded all expectations” said Jason Rounsaville, P&Y Executive Director, noting the auction’s grand total was several times above the norm.
*Perhaps the biggest news of the Omaha convention was the announcement that the Club will begin hosting conventions on a yearly basis. President Jim Willems said the annual gatherings will be three-day events starting March 26-27-28, 2020 in Chantilly, VA, at the Westfield Marriott Washington Dulles Hotel.
SPEAKING PERSONALLY NOW, I want to say how humbled and honored I was by the two unexpected awards presented to me in Omaha. First, at the Friday Luncheon featuring Diane Miller, Archery Hall of Fame Executive Director, I received the AHOF Dave Staples Golden Arrow award for lifetime contributions to the sport of archery. Second, later that same evening at the P&Y Recognition Banquet, Club Membership Chair Kathy Strecker honored me with the Pope and Young Club’s first-ever Glenn St. Charles Outstanding Member Award.
“The Pope and Young Club and Archery Hall of Fame are two quality organizations I have supported for decades and was privileged to serve as both a longtime Board Member and President. Their recognition of my service is especially gratifying and I offer my heartfelt thanks for these distinguished honors.”
For more please go to: Thoughts and Tips with M.R. James