by Karen Mehall Phillips - Saturday, January 14, 2017
Pictured above: Denise Welker (left) and Susan LaPierre at Gazelles Luncheon and Auction
As you walk the show floor at the Houston Safari Club (HSC) Convention, Jan. 13-15, and see all the women in attendance, one thing is clear: Female hunters are increasingly playing a vital leadership role in defending and celebrating American freedom, hunting and wildlife conservation.
Need proof? Today’s Gazelles Luncheon and Auction, hosted by the women of the HSC, drew hundreds to The Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel for three hours of mingling, sharing hunting stories and enthusiastic bidding on donated live and silent auction items.
With artwork, collectibles, home-interior items, jewelry, handbags, clothing and, of course, hunting trips, the bidding alone was an action-packed event. The best part: All proceeds support HSC’s mission to preserve hunting through education, conservation and the protection of hunters’ rights. With that in mind, we attendees had a good excuse to spend a few bucks considering the more we shopped, the more we helped.
Just as great was the fact that this event felt like a family reunion—the room was filled with familiar faces not just from the HSC but from the NRA, Safari Club International (SCI), Dallas Safari Club (DSC) and more.
Sitting at my table was NRA’s own Susan LaPierre, co-chair of the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum (WLF) who, along with husband Wayne, is a member of the NRA Hunters’ Leadership Forum. Many of us had gathered during the show just yesterday for an NRA WLF luncheon, where I sat next to Denise Welker of Texas, who just learned that she is the recipient of SCI’s 2017 Diana Award to be presented during the annual SCI Hunters’ Convention in Las Vegas on Feb. 4.
Also at my table today was NRA HLF Co-Chair Melanie Pepper with granddaughter Chloe, who were fun to watch as they bid on a hunt. The family that hunts together stays together, right? I was also in good company considering that two chairs over sat Veronica Kosich, president of the SCI Sables.
For a final highlight, my new friend and WLF member Gaye Kelsey shared a picture of the red stag she got in Canada, scoring a whopping 511 SCI. I noted how the one I got a few years back was a bit smaller—maybe more than a bit—but isn’t that the fun of hunting? Who knows what we’ll see on a hunting adventure? The randomness of it all just adds to the anticipation!
The Bottom Line: No matter when and where we get together, the way we reach out to one another and to defend our Second Amendment is what guarantees the future of American freedom and hunting and conservation worldwide.
Save the Date
Headed for the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Atlanta, Apr. 27-30? Don’t miss the NRA Women’s Leadership Forum Luncheon and Auction set for the Georgia Aquarium on Apr. 28. For details, click here.
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