By Tim Gafford, President of DSC Lubbock Sportsman’s Club
The Sixth Lubbock Sportsman’s Club banquet on August 28, 2021, was a record night across the board after encountering several challenges along the way.
To set the stage, we usually host this event at the first of March. This means that the Fifth Banquet happened just days before the pandemic shutdown of 2020. As you can imagine in early 2021, things were looking a lot different. Our facility, the Lubbock Civic Center, was giving and storing vaccines, so there was no chance at holding our event at that time.
Adapting, we changed to mid-May. But unfortunately, as the time inched closer, it was still a no-go as our doctor members counseled us to move on from that date. This left us with one shot—the last Saturday in August.
We also moved the event to a much larger room to accommodate any possible Covid spikes and space concerns. As things ended up, this was an excellent move, especially on the timing: no football, kids back in school, two weeks from dove season—perfect!
I had a strong feeling that the West Texas crowd was more than ready to get together and spend money for a great cause. This feeling turned out to be astoundingly correct. This banquet saw record donations, sponsor hunts and sponsor tables. Volunteers dedicated countless hours leading up to and throughout the day of the event to make these things happen. Let me give a special mention to the Lubbock 4-H Club who helped in a big way, which we of course reciprocate, by sponsoring their NRE Shooting Complex.
But those successes did not come without challenges. We had a huge, unexpected tragedy in our community just weeks before our banquet. One of Lubbock’s finest, Sgt. Josh Bartlett of the Lubbock Sheriff’s SWAT team, lost his life in the line of duty, leaving behind a wonderful wife and family.
We were approached by our local gun supplier and partner Sharp Shooters who were contacted by the local Law Enforcement Association to possibly put something into our banquet. Sharp Shooters got a 100 percent donation for a fully loaded Daniel Defense AR for our auction. So, we came up with a plan. When the Law Enforcement Association contacted me, I told him that my goal was to make this the most expensive Daniel Defense AR ever—I’m talking Guinness Record Book material!
We had 30 live auction items of which our friend & partner Larry Weishuhn did a great job with the important role of reading the descriptions for the crowd. When the Daniel Defense AR came up as item 31, I took over. This is where the magic came to play.
During the Live Auction, I was approached by a very generous family who informed me that they were going to give a significant contribution… and did not want the gun. They wanted to pass it back onto the auction field!
Tim Assitor, one of the Best Auctioneers in the business, went to town. The DD AR was passed 3 more times for big donations. The family came up and was introduced to the crowd as they thanked them for what they were doing.
Now, this was the hard part for me. Mrs. Bartlett and four of their young children all came to me while on stage, reaching out to shake my hand to thank me for what we were doing. Wow! All I could do was shake their hands, and say, “God bless you.” It was tough trying to keep composure thinking about the impact of this night for a local family. This is definitely one of the many blessings one gets from what our DSC Chapters do.
By the end of the drive, the West Texas crowd raised $135,550 for the Bartlett Family. We sure did meet the goal of setting the record for the most expensive Daniel Defense gun ever sold!
As the evening ended, we set an all-time banquet record of a gross $513,000—close to $380,000 for our DSC Chapter plus the amount for the Bartlett Family. This amazing evening has allowed our DSC Chapter to give out over $256,000 to date in support of worldwide efforts.
Actually, the full gravity of this did not sink in until later. I was filled with tears of emotion at how great a place I live in and what a great organization I am associated with both locally and with DSC. Later we were able to have dinner with the Lubbock County Sheriff and some of his team, along with Sgt Bartlett’s wife and one of his sons where we presented them with the certified check for $135,550.
I told Sheriff Rowe, “We do not want to do this again, but will if needed.” Some of our West Texas folk that were there for that special event told me that they will be there if needed to support. It is nights like the 2021 Lubbock Sportsman’s Club – DSC Chapter that makes our hard work and effort worth it all!
The Lubbock Sportsman’s Club –DSC Chapter is the first DSC Chapter. We consist of some of the very best businessmen and women around who are also experienced hunters and conservationists. We have been at this for many years and have a real teamwork and dedication to our cause. Don’t miss our next Banquet Saturday August 27, 2022—more room, more vendors and outfitters, more fun!