In a suburb just outside Dallas you can find one of Texas Ducks Unlimited’s most brilliant gems: the Ellis County chapter. This highly successful chapter has hosted its annual event in Waxahachie since the early 1990s. Eventually outgrowing the dirt-floor rodeo arena where they originally held their banquet, the chapter moved the event to the Waxahachie Convention Center and now boasts a sellout crowd of more than 1,000 attendees each year.
“The Ellis County chapter saw exponential growth when they decided to move venues to allow for more attendees,” said DU Regional Director Russ Hawley. “This is the second year in a row that the chapter has raised a net of more than $200,000.”
The event’s immense popularity is thanks to Ellis County’s dedicated committee members and longtime area chairman John Reagan. For more than 15 years, John has pushed his team to make the banquet a smashing success.
“This committee works really hard to make this a one-of-a-kind event,” John said. “Of the 120 tables that we set up, 114 were sponsor tables, which says a lot about the hard work that goes into this event.”
Once the banquet’s fundraising results are tallied, the Reagan family hosts a cookout at a local gun club to celebrate. “One thing that is important to me as an area chairman is to build a strong camaraderie within the committee,” John said. “We do a dove hunt each year for current and prospective committee members, and I think that is a great way to keep everyone engaged throughout the year and help us work better as a team. My closest friends are guys I’ve met through DU, and being able to celebrate your success with friends makes it all worthwhile.”