Virginia DU held an 80 Gun Anniversary Raffle during the Green Top Outdoor Expo in Ashland Oct. 7-8. Billy Coward with the Western Henrico DU chapter was the event chair. Volunteers from the James River, Blackstone, Hanover County, Alexandria, Pentagon, Roanoke, Old Belt, Richmond, Appomattox River, Rapidan River, Smithfield, Greater Williamsburg, Jefferson's Country and Mechanicsville DU chapters participated in the event.
"The event was a tremendous success. Green Top Sporting Goods posted record sales, and the vendors and exhibitors were top notch,” said Eastern Virginia Regional Director Shawn Kooyman. “Virginia is for duck lovers, and it showed with the tremendous support from all of the DU volunteers and every participant that made the 80 Gun Anniversary Raffle the largest and most successful event of its kind for wetlands and waterfowl conservation in Virginia. No other waterfowl conservation organization has conserved as many acres in Virginia, directly benefiting our migratory waterfowl and the waterfowl hunter."
The 80 Gun Anniversary Raffle netted $55,000 for wetland conservation work in Virginia. Ducks Unlimited and partners have conserved more than 47,500 acres in the state, including recent projects at Ware Creek, Hog Island, and Princess Anne wildlife management areas and Great Dismal Swamp and Back Bay national wildlife refuges.
More than 16,000 people attended the two-day event and Saturday’s crowd brought record sales, beating out Green Top’s best Black Friday.
“Customer feedback was tremendous,” said Blaine Altaffer, CEO of Green Top.
With Ducks Unlimited marking its 80th Anniversary and Green Top reaching its 70th Anniversary this year, special firearms were given away to the 70th and 80th winners. The 70th gun was a limited edition Henry Big Boy rifle, and the 80th was a Fausti Select over and under DU Gun of the Year.
“Over the years, the partnership between Green Top Sporting Goods and Virginia Ducks Unlimited has raised more than $300,000 for wetlands and waterfowl conservation,” Kooyman said. “This year’s event was a huge success, and we look forward to even bigger and better things from this partnership in the future.”
The 2018 Green Top Expo will be held Oct. 6-7.