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Local turkey hunters host fundraiser

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On Saturday, July 20, the Benton County Strutters chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) held their 10th Annual Hunting Heritage Banquet to celebrate the sport and raise funds for the coming year. The well-attended event took place at the Apex Community Building, and was catered by Apex and Open Season Sports Center and Marine.

The evening was hosted by NWTF Senior Regional Director Mark Jackson, who is based in Dickson to serve all NWTF chapters from Nashville to Memphis. Activities consisted of a social hour, games, silent auction, dinner, and a spirited live auction. Turkey calls, framed prints, hunting apparel and supplies, knives, guns, and more graced the tables in the room, ready to be passed along to eager bidders. Jeff Phifer, of Landmark Realty and Auction, served as auctioneer.

Notable guests among the more than 100 in attendance included Benton County Mayor Brett Lashlee and State Representative Bruce Griffey. With some goading from Phifer, the two area politicians held a friendly bidding war over an NWTF office chair upholstered in forest camouflage fabric. Lashlee, who ultimately won the bid, noted that he planned to use the chair in the mayor’s office.

The NWTF is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to conserve the wild turkey and preserve the country’s heritage of hunting wild turkeys in their natural environment. Each year, through the fundraising efforts of chapters like the Benton County Strutters, the NWTF provides scholarship money to qualified applicants, promotes outdoor activities, works to fulfill its mission of conservation, and supports its many chapter groups.

The annual Strutters’ banquet and auction fundraiser generates monies to support the charitable efforts of the larger NWTF. The 2019 event raised nearly $22,000. Most of those funds are returned to the county to be used by the Strutters to fund the chapter’s scholarship awards, youth outdoors hunting and fishing activities, and more. The scholarships are available through an application process to any qualified Benton County student.

For more information about the Benton County Strutters, programs they support, or the NWTF, contact chapter President Lance Patton at [email protected] or Secretary/Treasurer Wade Stettner at 731-584-3350. See more photos from Saturday night’s banquet on page 8B.

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