The state of Oklahoma
boasts a long list of favorite sons, including Garth Brooks, Brad Pitt, and Barry Sanders, to name a few. But in the east-central part of the Sooner State, one man is as familiar as any celebrity, especially among loyal DU supporters. That man is Joe Ready.
Ready is a force to be reckoned with in the small town of Chandler. In 2003 he helped restart the local DU chapter, methodically building the Chandler event into one of the state's most successful annual fundraisers
. Though the local population numbers only 3,500 people, Ready manages to fill the hall with 200-plus attendees at each event by reaching out to local duck clubs and their out-of-town members.
"Chandler sits in a heavily traveled portion of the Central Flyway
, and because of that, there are quite a few duck clubs in close proximity to town," said Ready, an avid duck hunter and longtime DU volunteer. "When members and their guests head our way, I make a concerted effort to reach out and invite them to the event. I've got a pretty aggressive phone campaign, and I really focus on touching base with as many people as possible in the weeks leading up to the event. I don't take 'no' for an answer, and for the past 10 years, people have been all too happy to say yes."
Ready's persistence has paid off. Since 2003, the Chandler chapter has generated more than $165,000 for the ducks. For reviving the chapter, Ready was named the 2010 Ducks Unlimited Area Chairman of the Year for the state of Oklahoma. He's a strong candidate to receive the award again in 2012, because the chapter just completed its most financially successful event ever this past January.