Selma Blasters see big turnout

Published 12:39 am Sunday, March 13, 2011

Parker Kennedy checks out bids on one of the shotguns available in the silent auction at the NWTF annual banquet Friday night at the Old National Guard Armory. -- Rick Couch

An estimated 300 people crowded the Old National Guard Armory Friday night for good food, fellowship and the possibility of winning some great prizes.

The walls of the Armory were lined with everything from shotguns and ammunition to easy chairs and handbags.

But there was another addition to the annual Hunting Heritage Banquet that made chairman Charlie Duckett smile.

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“I see a lot of children here tonight and younger people and that’s what we’ve been shooting for,” he said. “We’ve tried to make this more of a family friendly event and it looks like that has happened.”

The turnout and the chapter’s reputation were impressive, National Wild Turkey Federation Regional Director Chris Adams said. But, he said he has learned to expect nothing less from Selma and the Black Belt.

“Selma is consistently one of the top chapters in the nation,” he said. “They are a really dedicated group and you can see that here tonight. They have been the top chapter or one of the top two for years.”

The Blaster Chapter, Adams said, shows the dedication of others in the Black Belt toward preserving wildlife and woodlands.

“All of our Black Belt area chapters are great,” he said. “I’ll be in Camden next and they also usually draw about 300 people. Year in and year out these chapters make a strong showing no matter what the economic conditions are.”

Duckett said the chapter has high hopes of reclaiming the top spot and maintaining Golden Gobbler status for the 22nd straight year.

Money from the event, Duckett said, will be used to support the various conservation efforts of the NWTF at the national, state and local levels.