The Chattanooga-area chapter of Ducks Unlimited is moving to the Camp Jordan Arena in East Ridge for the 2018 Fall Flight Sportsman’s Dinner & Auction. The annual conservation fundraiser will be held on Oct. 18 beginning at 5 pm.
Oct. 12 is the cutoff date to buy Early Bird tickets. Everyone who buys early will be included in an exclusive drawing to win a Beretta A300 Outlander 12 ga. shotgun.
“We’re really excited about our move to the Camp Jordan Arena,” said organizing chairman Ross Malone. “The Camp Jordan Arena offers us a massive amount of space for even more guests and more vendors. We’ve basically got two-thirds of a football field to fill up with displays and products.”
The Chattanooga-area chapter consistently ranks among the Top 100 Ducks Unlimited fundraising chapters out of 2,600 chapters across the nation.
“We couldn’t do that without amazing support from local hunters and conservationists,” said DU Senior Regional Director Charlie Lowery. “I oversee a lot of banquets in Tennessee and Kentucky. The Chattanooga-banquet is always one of the most well-attended and exciting banquets I see.”
Malone said that this year’s auction and prizes are some of the best he has ever seen.
“Thanks to our past successes with other events, we will have fourteen different guns being offered this year,” he said. “Our live auction will also include an exclusive deer hunt for a youngster in North Georgia, a South Dakota pheasant hunting trip, an Arkansas duck hunt, a South African safari, an Argentina dove hunt and even an exotic week-long ‘Dream Vacation’ for eight people. They can choose to go to Belize, St. Thomas, Mexico or Costa Rica.”
Money raised at DU events is used in part to fund land purchases and conservation efforts throughout the North American flyway. However much of it also stays in Tennessee for a variety of conservation and hunting projects. To date more than $12 million in DU dollars have been spent in Tennessee.
Malone added, “We’re really excited about our food vendor this year. STIR Restaurant will provide us some of the best food ever served at a DU event. The doors open, along with the bar, at 5 pm.”
A single ticket for the event costs $50, a couples ticket is $65 and kids are $15. Individuals who buy their tickets before Oct. 12 will be included in a special drawing for a Beretta A300 Outlander 12 gauge shotgun.
Mountain View Auto Group has been the premier sponsor for Fall Flight the past 10 years. Other major sponsors supporting the conservation cause to-date include: Bohanon Auto Parts, Covey Creek Farm, First Tennessee Bank, Henkels & McCoy, L.E. Myers Company, Malone’s ATM’s, National Boiler Service, P&C Construction, Quality Tire Pros, Southern Honda Powersports, Southway Crane & Rigging, LLC., Sportsman’s Warehouse, Transport Enterprise Leasing and T.U. Parks Construction Company.
Other sponsors are expected to come on board. Sponsors can get special reserved tables for up to eight people along with special prize incentives. Individuals or businesses interested in becoming sponsors can contact Malone by e-mail.
The Chattanooga-committee is already looking beyond the Fall banquet however. The 3rd annual “Great Outdoors Festival” is already scheduled for April 6, 2019 at Covey Creek Farm. This free outdoor, interactive event is designed especially for kids – or Greenwings as they’re known in DU circles.
“We had 252 kids last Spring. We’re shooting for 300 in 2019,” said Malone.
In just two short years the Chattanooga Greenwing event has become a model for similar events across the country.
“I was asked to speak at DU Headquarters last month on how our event has become so successful,” said Malone. “I’m getting calls and e-mails from other chapters all across the country asking how they can do the same thing.”