Putting and keeping sheep on the mountain since 1977, the Wild Sheep Foundation National Convention in Reno Nevada is a weekend that every serious hunter and conservationist should attend annually. WSF is a small group, less than 6,000 members world-wide that are making a big difference to enhance wild sheep populations, the promotion of professional wildlife management, educating the public and our youth on sustainable use and the conservation benefits of hunting.
Celebrity Sporting Clays Event
For my third year in a row, I attended the Celebrity Sporting Clays Event with the USA Shooting Team and Wounded Warrior Outdoors alumni, USMC Matt Amos, USMC Brian Meyer, US Navy Hospital Corpsman Tommy Neuens and USMC Michael Fox.
Last year, I shot on Matt Amos team and we struggled to beat each other, I ended up in last place, likely for the entire shoot, so I was excited for my attempt to redeem myself and possibly beat Matt this year. It is all a competition with these guys, after-all it is a tournament.
My teammates, USMC Michael Fox, Jim Newberry, Mike Cassiday, Camden Leach and Mo Parsons. Sorry guys, you all got the short end of the stick. With me on your team, we are sure to NOT win the tournament.
True to my cross dominant style, I was once again “Revenge of the Nerds” with tape over my left eye. Fortunately, by the end of the day, I was missing clays with greater accuracy and I was thankful for such an amazingly talented team that was able to help me along the way.
For the second year in a row, I lost to Matt, and well probably everyone at the shoot and I keep promising myself that I am going to practice but the allure of the precision rifle wins out every year.
South Pacific Ladies Luau- Presented by Cabela’s
Once again Kelli Thornton and Pauline Rupp have outdone themselves with the beautiful South Pacific themed ladies luncheon and luau. All of us were taken to a far off tropical island where we were greeted at the door by beautiful Polynesian hula dancers with flower lei’s.
Sipping on Mai Tai’s, while perusing the many silent auction items, while catching up with old girlfriends and meeting new.
After the ladies were primed and bidding was done on silent auction, the doors were opened up to a journey to Hawaii where hula dancers kept beat to the pulsating drums.
The keynote speaker of the day was Melanie Pepper, a past President of the Houston Safari Club, a member of the NRA Executive Women’s Leadership Council, the 2013 SCI Diana Award recipient and the 2008 Houston SCI International Outstanding Huntress of the year.
Also speaking was Ron Raboud, of Wounded Warrior Outdoors. Ron spoke on behalf USMC Kirstie Ennis, a 23 year old American hero. A woman that nearly gave her life to protect those who could not protect themselves.
Kirstie, a high school graduate at 15 years old, earned her Associate of Arts at 17 years old, her Bachelors Degree at 19 her Masters Degree in Human Behavior at 21 and at 23 years old she is currently working on her PhD in Psychology. Somewhere in there Kirstie had time to serve two deployments to Afghanistan and is now on the US Paralympic Development Team in snowboarding.
Kirstie is medically retired due to injuries sustained when her helicopter crashed in Now Zad Afghanistan, injuries that will cost Kirstie her right leg below the knee.
Kirstie is an inspiration to all women hunters and is an active participant in the Wounded Warrior Outdoors program and serves to help others, like herself, rediscover ability on the mountains.
As the presenting sponsor of the ladies lunch, Cabela’s also donated three packages including an optics package, a bow hunting package complete with the Cabela’s Instigator bow, arrows, broadheads, ladies release, OutfitHer WindShear hooded jacket and pants and a camping and backpacking package with Instinct 2 person tent, Cabela’s womens Ridgeline 45-L Backpack, 15 degree sleeping bag, XPG sleeping pad, and a jet boil.
Throughout the weekend guests were invited to attend the many seminars, some of the topics included lightweight backpacking, preparation for your first sheep hunt, navigating with your GPS to getting and staying in sheep shape.
The <1 Club reception is always a hoot and this year they made attending extra sweet with not one, not two but three drawings for sheep hunts!
Guest speakers included Shane Mahoney and Rick Carone. The weekend was loaded with fun and inspiration. Putting critical monies on the ground to put and keep sheep on the mountain. I am already looking forward to the 2016 convention.