Through all the trials and tribulations of 2020, the Albuquerque Chapter looked for ways to keep their members and volunteers engaged throughout shutdowns. One of the chapter’s outstanding committee members, Jim Schnaible, had begun working on a “fun, fundraising shoot” at a nearby hunting club before the pandemic began. Due to government health restrictions, those plans didn’t come to fruition.
Then the volunteers heard about the new RMEF Sponsorship Program. What if they used a shoot as a way to introduce this new program to the state membership and chapter chairs?
As soon as some of the state’s health restrictions relaxed, several committee members, including Chapter Co-Chair James Lucero, made a trip to Tinnin Hunt Club in Bernardo, just south of Albuquerque. They met with owner Tom Tinnin and his team. Tinnin Hunt Club has been extremely generous in the past in supporting the Albuquerque Chapter.
Plans quickly came together, and the big day arrived. It was a warm and sunny Saturday in central New Mexico on March 6, 2021. About 30 people from around the state gathered at the Tinnin Hunt Club for a presentation on the RMEF’s new Sponsorship Program and a couple of hours of shotgun shooting.
Invited guests started arriving about 8:00, and were greeted by the Albuquerque Chapter Co-Chair, Steve Szanto. Shooters and non-shooters checked in, enjoyed pastries and coffee, got their name tags and socialized with like-minded conservationists.
Tinnin Hunt Club staff gave the shooters a comprehensive safety briefing, ensured everyone had their eye and ear protection and provided masks for those that needed them. Since the event was outside and there were no mass gatherings with greater than 5 people, every health regulation was observed.
Leon Redman, New Mexico Regional Director, presented the new sponsorship levels and encouraged the participants to be among the first to sign up. Then volunteers from the Albuquerque Chapter briefed the shooters on the special sporting clays course set up for their exclusive use. Each participant received two boxes of ammo and a shooting plan for 50 targets around the course.
After a few “Wow, I actually hit it’s” and some “Wow, how did I miss that’s,” everyone regrouped for a complimentary boxed lunch and prizes. The Top Shooter, with a score of 39 out of 50 targets, won a beautiful, hard-shell metal gun case. In addition, ten other valuable prizes were raffled off. Shooters received a free raffle ticket for each target they hit, and everyone bought additional tickets for $1 each.
The raffle raised over $300 in revenue for the RMEF, and by the end of the day, five new sponsorships were sold and two more were pending.
With this event, the Albuquerque Chapter kept volunteers engaged and keep creatively raising funds for elk country, even in a pandemic.