On May 10 more than 120 Safari Club International board members, volunteer leaders and guests packed into a ballroom of the Crystal City Hyatt Regency in Arlington, Virginia to support of SCI’s Political Action Committee (SCI-PAC). The dinner and live auction raised funds for U.S House and Senate candidates dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s hunting heritage.
SCI Deputy President-Elect Scott Chapman served as the banquet’s Master of Ceremonies, with an assist from Mike Rogers, Jr. SCI’s new CEO, Laird Hamberlin, welcomed attendees and spoke about the critical need for SCI-PAC’s mission. The banquet and auction followed more than 120 meetings on Capitol Hill during SCI’s annual Lobby Day the previous day.
Attendees then heard remarks from Michigan House Floor Leader Triston Cole, who was awarded the 2018 State Legislator of the Year. Rep. Cole urged SCI members to do outreach to their state legislators and described his efforts to introduce the delight of hunting and outdoor life to his fellow state legislators in Michigan. Cole was introduced by Cyrus Baird, SCI’s Regional Manager of Government Relations.
SCI member Bill Swan then introduced Tennessee Congressman Scott DesJarlais and SCI Past President Craig Kauffman introduced Alaska Congressman and long-time SCI friend, Don Young. Both DesJarlais and Young regaled banquet attendees about memorable hunting trips and stories about outdoor life.
Young, who has served in Congress since 1973 and recently became the Dean of the House of Representatives, urged SCI attendees to never stop fighting for sound conservation laws or advocating for the rights of hunters.
After DesJarlais and Young’s passionate remarks, attendees participated in a lively and productive live auction run by Past President Dennis Anderson. Dennis auctioned off 18 items, including overseas hunts in Ireland and South Africa, a turkey hunt in Florida, two American flag-themed firearms, a Sako 85 Safari Rifle from Beretta and a case of (legal) Tennessee moonshine.