Rifle Raffle Brings in Big Bucks
By Dave Brucken, Regional Director for Indiana, Illinois, Michigan & Ohio
The display banners are down, the tickets are in, and the winners notified. This year’s Rifle Raffle at Elk Camp brought in over $55,700, third highest total in the many years we’ve been doing it.
More than 40 chapters donated more than 45 rifles, shotguns and muzzleloaders, including some very expensive and rare beauties such as a Sharps Old Reliable in 45-70, the 2005 Browning A-bolt .338 banquet rifle with engraved octagon barrel, and this year’s RMEF banquet rifle, the Winchester Model 70 Super Grade in .325 WSM. The guns were given away as hourly and daily prizes. Nine grand prizes included eight long guns and Terry Redlin’s Best Friends print on canvas, donated by Ron and Tina Yakimow, committee members from Indiana’s Valparaiso Chapter.
The bonus prize of a safe and four long guns drove ticket sales over the top. Over 75 percent of sales were hundred dollar “books,” which included one chance at the safe, donated by Browning Safes, and the four long guns, donated by Pennsylvania state chair Sue Meehl and her husband Tom, also a long-time volunteer. John Nelson from Nebraska won the safe and guns.
We had more than two dozen volunteers help us sell tickets, and each day we were amazed and overwhelmed at the generosity and friendliness of the crowd. Many youngsters attending Elk Camp with Mom and Dad became instant celebrities as they drew winner after winner from the crowded drum of tickets.
Speaking of celebrities, we had a superstar visit our booth for a few minutes Saturday afternoon. Hearing a rumor that Grammy-award winning country music artist Travis Tritt, our Saturday Grand Banquet entertainer, was in the exhibition hall, regional director Randy Waterhouse on a lark had him paged to “report to the Rifle Raffle.” A minute later our jaws dropped as the man himself appeared and began signing raffle tickets. You can imagine the instant spike in sales! Tritt graciously stayed for pictures, talked to the crowd, and even threw in a raffle ticket himself. How cool was that?
Most humbling, though, was all the volunteers who worked so hard to sell tickets. We had different packets at different prices, and each volunteer patiently explained this to thousands of buyers time and time again. Thanks to all of them for their priceless help! And thanks to all who helped set up and take down the booth, and to each donor and donating chapter. Finally, thanks to all who purchased tickets. Each and every one of you helped make this fundraiser a success.
We look forward to seeing everyone at the 2010 Rifle Raffle in Reno!