The 8th Annual Ohio River Drummers Hunting Heritage Banquet was held at the Meade County Fairgrounds in the Farm Bureau Building on Saturday, August 20. 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.
According to Bob Carver, president of the Ohio River Drummers, 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.
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. Gentry’s General Store from Harned, Kentucky and 5S Firearms from Central, Indiana were in the rear of the building to handle the paperwork for the guns that were won that night. They also had some items for sale.
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. Each young person who signed up as members were given a turkey call as a gift and were handed a ticket to be drawn later to come pick out a prize. Carrie Schneider and her dad Chris were busily signing up young people for JAKES, and Carrie also helped with the Turkey Bingo.
The event officially started when all veterans and first responders in attendance were asked to come forward. About 32 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 chicken tenders, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, macaroni and cheese, and rolls. The desserts were yellow cake, banana pudding and orange cake. Tables for the banquet were reserved by sponsoring them for $250 or paying for an individual or couple ticket. This year there was a good attendance, and most of the tables were full.
During the evening there were raffle drawings for shotguns, rifles, and handguns that were on display in the back where they had to be registered by Gentry’s or 5S Firearms. In accordance with the current gun laws all firearms were in a secured area and had gunlocks on them. 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, a whiskey barrel bar with accessories, turkey callers, a camo office chair, a child’s ride-on battery powered truck, and more. The auction was handled by auctioneers from American Auction Company in Harned, Kentucky that included Todd Akridge, Joe Riggs, Hunter Ashley, and Jamie Ashley.
Before the event ended, winners were drawn for several big-ticket items, one of which was a double drop hunting blind, donated by David Miller of Apex Buildings from Irvington, Kentucky. A tall gun safe that included a handgun, shotgun, and a rifle was won by Drew Ford, who also won the items from the Varmint Table. A Honda 4-Wheeler, donated by Dan Powers Motorsports in E-town, was won by Ashley Humphrey.
Bob Carver, president of the Ohio River Drummers, invited anyone interested in the NWTF to come join the members at monthly meetings the second Tuesday of the month at Home Plate Restaurant in Brandenburg. Call Bob Carver at 270-668-8046 if you have an interest in joining them.