2013 MS DU State Convention


The 2013 Mississippi D.U. State Convention "Ducks on the Bluff" State Convention was held in Vicksburg, July 25-28. The weekend's activities kicked off with a Major Donor Event held at the Roca Restaurant on July 25 with 40 in attendance. State Major Donor Chairman, Dwight Jones, welcomed Dr. Scott Manly, Director of Conservation Programs in D.U.'s Southern Region, who gave an informative update regarding the current conservation programs. A small auction followed and thanks to the generous sponsors, donors, and attendees, over $10,000.00 was raised for the ducks at that gathering.

At noon on Friday, a dozen or more ladies, enjoyed a luncheon and tour of the historic Greek Revival Anchuca Mansion in downtown Vicksburg. That afternoon, State Counsel Chairman, Guy Ray, presided over an informal meeting of volunteers and staff to discuss policies, procedures, organization and fund-raising for the upcoming year's banquet and fundraising season. That evening, the convention attendees enjoyed a fish fry at the Southern Heritage Air Museum, across the river at the Vicksburg-Tallulah Regional Airport.

Saturday morning started with a general business session at the Hampton Inn & Suites. The agenda included presentations by: 

Keith Hancock, Brooksville, State Chairman; 
David Victory, Hernando, State Chairman Elect 
Beto Elizondo, West Monroe, LA, D. U. Flyway Senior Vice President; 
Jim West, Memphis, TN: Chief Fund-raising Officer, D.U., Inc.; 
Hunter Pridgen, Greenwood, D.U., Inc. Regional Director; 
Mark Horobetz, D.U., Inc., Memphis, TN & Cody Pugh, Greenwood, Youth and 

Collegiate Programs; 

D.U. Advisory Senior Vice President, Ronal Roberson, Charleston, Youth & Education Importance; 
Directors of Development, Chris Cole, Huntington, TN and Chad Manlove, Ridgeland,
Dwight Jones, State Major Donor and Chairman; 
Regional Vice President, Steve Cook, Malvern, AR; 
Tim Willis, Ridgeland, D.U. Regional Biologist; 

Mississippi D.U. State Officers for 2013-2014 were presented: 

David Victory, Hernando, State Chairman 
Chip Hines, Meridian, State Treasurer 
Dwight Jones, Grenada - State Major Gifts/Sponsor Chairman 
Ken Carroll, Jackson, State Volunteer Recruitment Chairman 
LaWayne Smith, Sumrall - State Greenwing Chairman 
Benjamin Ferguson, Tunica - State Publicity Chairman 

Regional Directors: 

Hunter Pridgen, Greenwood, MS - North MS/Central MS 
Tommy Ware, Diamondhead, MS – South MS/South AL 

Saturday afternoon was set aside for free time where attendees enjoyed Vicksburg's many attractions. Over 120 attended the gala Award's Banquet held that evening at the Vicksburg Convention Center in downtown Vicksburg. After the meal, Hancock, Cook and Elizondo presented the following awards to outstanding Mississippi D.U. chapters and volunteers for the past year:

Top Net/Net Gross
Top College Chapter 
#2 in Nation (Sweet Sixteen)
MSU Bulldog Chapter 
Stephen Leiniger, Chairman 
Attendance: Over 300 
Gross over: $45,000.00 
Net: $42,000.00.

National Sweet Sixteen 
#12 in Nation (Sweet Sixteen)
Ole Miss Chapter 
Amanda Victory, Chair

Net/Net Increase 
Natchez Chapter 
Key Smith, Chairman 
Net/Net Increase $15,000.00 
> $32,000.00 - efficiency 69% 
10/30 incentive

Top Membership Increase 
Top Committee Growth 
Grenada Chapter 
Josh James, Chairman 
Attendance increase 60>200 
Gross $39,000.00 
Net/Net $15,000.00 - efficiency 51% 
10/30 incentive

State Chairmans Award of Excellence 
Pike County Chapter 
Kennon Singley, Chaiman 
Attendance increase 155>195
Gross $40,000.00
Net $24,000.00 - efficiency 60%10/30 incentive

Overall Top Event 
Top Net/Net Efficiency 
President Elite 
Central Mississippi Sponsor Event 
Chad Manlove, Chairman 
Gross $161,000.00 
Net/Net $148,000.00 - efficiency 91% 
10/30 incentive

Rookie of the Year 
Key Smith, Natchez

Volunteer of the Year 
Dwight Jones, Grenada

Zone Chairman of the Year 
Scott Forest, Madison 
Capital District (7)

District Chairman of the Year 
Ken Carroll, Jackson 
Capital District (7)

Area Chairman of the Year 
Wayne Black, Madison Chapter 

Six MS D.U. Chapters were recognized with the

Madison Chapter
Wayne Black, Chairman
Attendance increase>274 Gross $41,000.00
Gross $41,000.00
Net $32,000.00 - efficiency 79%
10/30 incentive

Olive Branch Chapter
Michael Fuller, Chairman
Attendance increase 87>140
Gross $27,000.00
Net $16,000.00 - efficiency 59%
10/30 incentive

Singing River Chapter
John Kinsey, Chairman
Attendance increase 86>225
Gross $37,000.00
Net $21,000.00 - efficiency 57%
10/30 incentive

Pike County Chapter
Kennon Singley, Chairman
Attendance increase 155>195
Gross $40,000.00
Net $24,000.00 - efficiency 60%
10/30 incentive

Jones County Chapter
Chris Sherman, Chairman
Attendance increase 136>260
Gross $29,000.00
Net $18,000.00 - efficiency 61%
10/30 incentive

Brookhaven Chapter
Joseph Durr, Chairman
Gross $20,000.00
Net $12,000.00 - efficiency 60%
10/30 incentive 

Thanks to this year's convention Donors: 

Greenbrook Flowers of Jackson Ameristar Casino & Hotel
Drake Waterfowl Systems Lady Luck Hotel & Casino 
The Old Depot Museum Southern Beverage 
Riverwalk Casino & Hotel Vicksburg Factory Outlets 
Charles Donald Timber Company Academy Sports 
Hobie's Outdoor Sports Tractor Supply Co. 
Lamar Advertising of Jackson Hampton Inn & Suites 
Southern Heritage Air Museum DISCOVER Card 
Byram Wine & Spirits Old Court House Museum 
Trustmark Bank, Vicksburg Mossy Oak 
Vicksburg Convention & Visitors Bureau Bass Pro Shops 

Special thanks to this Year's Convention Sponsors: 

Bonnie Morris Castors of Jackson 
Wendell Weakley Guy & Charlot Ray 
Keith Thames Keith & Kathy Hancock 

Other out of state guests at the weekend's activities included, D.U. National Board of Directors member, Vince Callahan (Proctor, AR) and E. J. Deubler (and wife Betty), Harvey, LA, Arkansas State Sponsor Chairman, Mike Morrison, West Memphis, AR, Louisiana State Chairman, Stephen Gauthiex, Lafayette, LA, State Chairman-Elect, Michael Patterson, Baton Rouge, LA, State Wetland Campaign Chairman, Mike Benge, New Orleans, LA, National Assistant Treasurer, Stan Huner ( and wife, Jane), Sterrett, AL, Henry Gauldin (and wife, Lida), Birmingham, AL, Jeff Lawrence (wife, Cindy), Pangburn, AR - Director of Fund-raising and Volunteer Recruitment. 

The 2014 Mississippi D.U. Convention site and date will be announced by the end of September reported new State Chairman, David Victory. 

Mississippi Ducks Unlimited would like to give a special thanks to Jack Moss for all his support and effort in helping make this 2013 State Convention a memorable one. Jack's dedication and passion for Ducks Unlimited is what makes events such as this a complete success. Thanks again from MS DU.