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2021’s Ohio River Drummers Hunting Heritage Banquet


TRISH TURNER

Messenger Staff


The 7th Annual Ohio River Drummers Hunting Heritage Banquet was held at the Meade County Fairgrounds in the Farm Bureau Building on Saturday, August 21. The Ohio River Drummers are the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

The National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) is an organization that was founded in 1973 and is dedicated to the preservation of the North American wild turkey and its habitat. Their goal is to ensure that the wild turkey remains available to hunt. The banquets are fundraisers for conservation, youth programs for young hunters, scholarships, and to get people out in nature.

Bob Carver, president of the Ohio River Drummers, told me that the local chapter designates one thousand dollars each year to donate to the Meade County schools that have an archery program. They give $250 to each school. Those funds help the students pay for equipment and for trips out of the area for competitions. They are very proud of the members of the Payneville Elementary School archery club, who are the 2019 World Champions.

Doors opened for the event at 5:30 p.m. and attendees had a chance to look at the items for both the silent auction and the live auction. There also were several vendors displaying their products. The busiest exhibit was Gentry’s General Store from Harned, Kentucky. They were set up to handle the paperwork for the guns that were won that night and also had many items for sale.

The event officially started when all veterans and first responders in attendance were asked to come forward. About 25 men and women gathered at the front and were awarded special NWTF pins and they received a big round of applause from all the attendees. Everyone stood and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. Then the food was blessed, and tables were dismissed to get their food.

Home Plate Restaurant catered the delicious banquet, which included a choice of fried chicken, or chicken tenders, pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn, and rolls. The desserts were chocolate cake, carrot cake, apple cobbler, and peach cobbler.

Tables for the banquet were reserved by sponsoring them for $250, paying for an individual, or couple ticket. Across from where I sat was a table sponsored by Kentuckiana Renovations LLC from Jeffersonville, Indiana. The group included William Daniels, Jakob Ramey, Edward Fredrick, and Kelly Fredrick. This was their first time attending a Drummer’s Banquet, and they look forward to making this a yearly tradition.

Near the front entrance to the building a table was set up for JAKES, which stands for Juniors Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics, and Sportsmanship. Young people ages 17 and under filled out a card to become junior members of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), which entitles them to receive a special monthly magazine and other benefits. Charles Tollett, Regional Director of the NWTF, manned the table and introduced me to 9-year-old Bridger Nichter who had harvested his first squirrel that morning with a 410 single shot.

Following the meal, the young people aged 17 and under were taken to an adjacent room where they had an opportunity to pick out a prize. The cards they had filled out at the JAKES table were drawn out of a bucket, and when their names were called, they came up to a table filled with outdoor hunting and fishing sports related items that were for youngsters and chose an item they wanted. Prizes included knapsacks, hats, turkey call strikers, BB guns, fishing poles, and tackle.

During the evening there were raffle drawings for guns that were on display throughout the building, which included Browning 12-gauge shotguns, Remington 700 rifles, Winchester 12-gauge shotguns, and Ruger 6.5 Creedmoor rifles. Other items such as gun cases, coolers and camp chairs were also raffled.

Later in the evening a live auction was held for items that included special edition rifles, framed prints of beautiful wildlife scenes, an outdoor air fryer, a Versatop grill, gun cases, turkey callers, and more. The auction was handled by auctioneers from American Real Estate and Auctions that included Todd Akridge, Aaron Haycraft, Joseph Riggs, Hunter Ashley, and Colton Haycraft. The event was emceed by Brian Carpenter.

Before the event ended, the winners were drawn for the two big ticket items—a Cannon 48 capacity gun safe, which was won by Kurt Nevitt, and a double drop hunting blind, won by Phillip Wimpee. The hunting blind was donated by David Miller, of Apex Buildings from Irvington, Kentucky.