All summer at car shows, festivals and wherever he was welcome local Ducks Unlimited Chairperson Bruce Wilson has been hawking benefit raffle tickets while espousing the virtues of the organization he heads.
Wilson's enthusiasm for his volunteer position might stem from the many years he spent as a Phoenix-area high school football coach.
After hanging up his whistle and moving to the Rim country, Wilson took over the lead role of Ducks Unlimited, which was handled for so many years by Harold Iverson.
As the current Payson Chapter chairperson, one of Wilson's chief duties is to oversee the largest event on the local DU calender the annual banquet, raffle and auction.
This year's edition of the festivities is set for Oct. 13 at the Mazatzal Casino. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for no-host cocktails. It will be followed by a prime rib dinner at 6 p.m. and an evening that Wilson promises will be fun for all.
Among the events will be two raffle drawings one that includes the usual guns and sporting goods. The other, Wilson said, will feature framed prints, jewelry, collectibles and special items.
A silent auction also will be held that has traditionally been a favorite among DU members.
Early bird entries those who sign up for the banquet prior to Sept. 10 will be entered in a drawing for a Marlin Model 25N 10/30 rifle.
Wilson and fellow DU members have also been selling tickets for a special raffle throughout the summer. Grand prize of that drawing is a 2001 Polaris 325 4x4 quad. Other prizes include a complete patio set, La-Z-Boy recliner and a Ruger 10/22 rifle equipped with scope, sling and reworked target trigger. Tickets for a chance at all four prizes are $10 each.
Money earned from that special raffle will be used to fund DU's Greenwing program in fifth-grade classes in Pine, Payson and Tonto Basin.
Wilson's goal for the raffle was to raise $1,000 each for the nine fifth-grade teachers who participate. That goal will be reached, Wilson said.
Other give-a-ways to highlight the banquet include a penny raffle and a ladies blitz that Wilson said "will be very special" a cherry Shaker desk.
Raffle tickets ordered now will be available at the door the evening of the banquet, Wilson said.
Lookin' for sponsors
To ensure the banquet is a success, Wilson and other DU members are spearheading a sponsor program.
"Anyone who donates $300 or more will be a sponsor and receive dinner tickets for two, a DU membership, a one-in-five chance on a Remington Model 5568 870 Express 12-gauge (shotgun) and special recognition from DU National at our banquet," Wilson said.
Also, sponsors have their name placed on their choice of a print, gun or other raffle/auction item.
Those sponsors who donate $500 or more will receive the tickets, chance at winning the shotgun, DU membership and one chance on a Remington Model 700 DDL Custom Deluxe 7 mm magnum rifle and two limited edition prints.
Non-sponsors may purchase single banquet tickets that include dinner and a DU membership for $55 each. Mixed couple banquet tickets are $85. Greenwing tickets, for youngsters under 18 years of age, are available for $35.
Wilson is predicting that the 215 tickets to the event will be scooped up by early September. His best advice for those interested in attending: purchase your tickets now.
All proceeds from the event benefit the DU conservation cause, both in the Rim country and around North America.
For more information on DU or the banquet, call Wilson at (928) 474-9266 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.