Max (left) and Charlie Shackelford attended different schools and led DU Varsity chapters at those schools, setting up a unique combination of cooperation and competition within their conservation-minded family.
The history of Ducks Unlimited’s high school chapter program is filled with stories of young men and women accomplishing remarkable things for conservation and for their schools. Through the years, there have even been some siblings who worked side by side to make their DU chapter the best it could be. However, a pair of brothers in Memphis, Tennessee, accomplished something that has never been done before. They set records for their respective chapters at two different schools.
Max and Charlie Shackelford hail from an outdoors family, and both joined their schools’ DU Varsity committees as soon as they could—Max at Memphis University School in seventh grade and Charlie at Christian Brothers High School as a freshman. Both worked tirelessly, often competing for donations and underwriting from family and friends, to one-up each other in the decades-old rivalry between their schools.
“I felt like their parent at times,” jokes DU Regional Director Jimbo Robinson. “If I gave advice to one, I’d have to make sure to give the same advice to the other, so as not to be seen as playing favorites.”
Max co-chaired the Memphis University School committee dinner during his junior year in 2020 with Will Schuessler and set a record for the largest event ever held by a DU Varsity chapter. The following year Max was also awarded one of DU’s National Scholarships.
Charlie co-chaired his school’s event this past spring, his senior year, with Jameson Pugh. Through their leadership, the event was a record-breaking affair for the Christian Brothers chapter—one of the longest-running high school chapters in the country.
“Their personalities are at opposite ends of the spectrum,” Jimbo adds, “but they share a love of hunting and wanting to give back that’s as strong as I’ve ever seen in a DU volunteer.”