The Clarksville DU chapter is a group of dedicated volunteers with a long history of successful events for the past 31 years. But in recent years the tough economy and other factors have forced the Clarksville committee to re-shuffle and practically start over.
"A new committee in 2008 re-energized the event and the committee worked hard on underwriting and donations to bring the events success back," said Joey Wright, chairman of the Clarksville Chapter. "After the event, attendees left excited that the 2008 event in Clarksville had regained its status of an event like the good old days."
Clarksville DU volunteers Courtney Cox and Joe McSpadden work hard selling raffle tickets at the Clarksville Annual Banquet on Sept. 3
The first official meeting of 2009 saw six new volunteers excited and ready to make their contribution as a result of the 2008 event.
"It was very obvious to me from the first committee meeting that I attended that Joey's leadership style was motivating even to me as their regional director," said Charlie Lowery, regional director for eastern Tennessee. "Joey took tools that Gary Goodpaster, retired RD, and I gave him and delegated the work out to the committee based on their talents they brought to the team."
Early August was the chapter's first opportunity to see how they would gel as a committee, for the Barkley Unit II WMA duck blind drawings and a pre-event raffle. Typically, Wright explains, committees raffle off a gun at the drawings and gross about $2,000, but this year they set up in the local gym and people lined up to play DU raffle games for various prizes such as a DU-edition gun safe. He went on to explain that after the dust settled in the gym this year, they grossed nearly $5,400.
This was just the beginning of the most successful event in Clarksville history as they prepared for the upcoming banquet in less than a month. The committee moved to a new venue because they were expecting 100 more attendees than last year. Their dinner event on Sept. 3 exceeded their expectations when 215 people walked through the door. Their commitment and dedication to the ducks led to an increase in net dollars from the year before of over $10,000.
"There success was led by Joey, but it was truly a team effort and he will be the first to tell you that," said Lowery. "All I did was give them a little guidance and got the heck out of the way!"
Wright explained that this is not the end of the Clarksville chapter for 2009. "We are hosting the 1st Annual Middle Tennessee Duck Hunters Classic on Oct. 17 at the Montgomery County Shooting Complex. This is a fun shooting style competition that will see individual and three-man teams face off in events such as pass shooting, jump shooting, decoying birds, layout blind challenge and a three-gun flurry."
"They are truly a great group of volunteers, very committed to our mission and I have to say I am very proud they're on the DU team!" said Lowery.