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Sables Convention Luncheon Celebrates 40 Years

 The Annual Sables Event Started Back in 1983

By Vicki Swan, Sables President

 It was 40 years ago when the first “Sables” Ladies Luncheon was organized. There used to be a commercial that said, “You’ve come a long way baby,” and we sure have! In light of this 40-year anniversary, I thought it would be fun to share some of the history of the Sables Luncheon with SCI members. 

Most of the following is quoted from an article that Steve Comus wrote. Some is also from Past Presidents’ recollections and some from early luncheon organizers Pat Bollman and Bruce Keller. 

The first Sables Luncheon started in 1983, when Pat Bollman and Bruce Keller approached C. J. McElroy and said that SCI needed a sister organization. “We told Mac that SCI is successful because of its great hunters, and these hunters had women here who needed to be pampered,” Keller said. “Mac told Betty Barr (SCI employee), ‘Here’s $500. Throw the girls a party at the convention.’ So, Pat, Betty and I put our heads together and said, let’s do a luncheon. Beretta furnished roses and it was Pat’s idea to give the women champagne, but $500 would not begin to cover the costs. Pat said, ‘You and I are going to ask all our friends for $100 each,’ and that is what we did. We raised another $1,000 that way.”

Before the lunch was over, the women had drunk every bottle at that hotel. Bollman said the women attending the luncheon helped pay the luncheon’s cost when they tipped the “waiters” that Pat and Bruce had lined up to serve them. These men in the future would be known as the 20-Male Team, paying $100 each for the privilege of serving the women at the luncheon. These “waiters” have evolved into our current Champagne Donors and Servers. We now offer a collectible Donor pin for our donors. 

In addition to the luncheon, Betty Barr arranged a fashion show hosted by Saks Fifth Avenue during the luncheon, as well as a shopping trip at the fashionable department store. “We got an SCI bus to take them to the store but while they were there, it started to rain and the bus drove off,” Bruce Keller said. “We had maybe 200 stranded women. Most of them understood but a few did not. I wound up paying, I don’t know how much, for cabs to get them back to the hotel.” 

According to Audrey Murtland, the First Sables President: 

“The following year we adopted our logo, solicited members from among the other ladies and launched our Annual Benefit Awards, which is still one of our many fundraisers. We also printed and mailed out to each SCI member a wildlife calendar, a project that we continued for about five years in various forms. Then, too, the Executive Committee was generous enough to allow us to stage the Ladies Luncheon at the Convention, which is even now our primary fundraiser. The original projects, the Benefit Awards and the calendars, were handled lock, stock and barrel by the ladies themselves in their homes and offices.” 

Fast forward 40 years later to 2023, and we ladies still like to be pampered, but if we want to, we can do our own pampering, purchase our own hunts and pay for our own luncheon tickets. We hunt by ourselves or with our spouses or friends and are as active in the hunting community as the men. We have become equal partners in the fight to preserve our hunting heritage. Now 40 years later, we Sables ladies are still going strong and continuing our fundraising for SCIF education missions and always have a fun time while doing it. 

Come join us in Nashville at our 2023 Sables Ladies Luncheon during the Convention and help us celebrate 40 years of traditions! Reserve table and tickets for the Sables Luncheon at showsci.org