Chamber to have Big Buck Contest

Brewton Standard
July 2011

The Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a big buck contest this fall. The Greater Brewton Area Chamber of Commerce’s big buck contest will benefit not only the local chamber of commerce but two well known charities as well—the Catch-A-Dream Foundation and the Alabama Hunters Helping The Hungry.

Chamber member Andrew Clark is heading the event.

“I got the idea from Wilcox County,” Clark said. “Their chamber of commerce does a big buck contest. Their contest is just for the chamber. I wanted to do something a little different and a little better because their contest is just the biggest buck. We have three different contests. But while we have three contests, we wanted to tie in some charities. We wanted a local charity and a national charity but we wanted them both to be hunting related.”

The local charity, Clark said, is Alabama hunters helping the hungry.

“There is not a local chapter in Brewton, Escambia County or Conecuh County,” Clark said. “So we sit up a chapter and will have it here in Brewton.”

The Hunters Helping the Hungry program provides a way that Alabama hunters can give thousands of pounds of ground venison to needy families and individuals in the state. Since the program’s beginning in 1999, approximately 450,000 pounds of ground venison have been donated to Alabama Food Banks in the state.

“It is a good way to take one of the state’s best natural resources and put it back in the community,” Clark said. “One doe will give you about 35 pounds of meat, so if you multiply that to 100 does, that is 3500 pounds of meat for meals. So that is one of our local charities we targeted.”

The other charity Clark said he came across while hunting in Mississippi is the Catch-A-Dream Foundation.

“This will be the biggest recipient of charitable funds for us,” Clark said. “Catch-A-Dream is a charitable foundation that specializes in creating opportunities for participation in outdoor activities that are not available through the “Make a Wish Foundation”. For years, The Make a Wish Foundation has been helping children who suffer from life threatening illnesses dream’s come true. “Make a Wish” does fall short in one area, the foundation will not send children on hunting/fishing excursions, but this is where CADF steps in. Since 2000, CADF has been making dreams come true for children whose wish of a lifetime involved an outdoor experience.”

Clark said Dr. Marty Brunson, whose parents are from Escambia County, started the foundation, which is run out of his office at Mississippi State University.

“After I talked to him, he was pretty excited about it,” Clark said. “They are a national organization and have celebrity endorsements and a relationship with them can do a lot of things for Brewton on a lot of different levels as long as we tie them into. I think it opens bigger things like the Blueberry Festival getting bigger entertainment and that sort of thing.”

Clark said the thinking behind this was to benefit the chamber, hunters, Hunters helping the Hungry and Catch-A-Dream.

“I think that makes it more valid,” Clark said. “It makes it where we are not just putting money in a bucket and hoping to win, but it really brings a cause to the contest. I think that is going to be one of our themes—‘A Contest with a Cause.’”

Clark said 50 percent of the money will go to the chamber and the others split between the charities with the majority going to Catch-A-Dream.

As for the contest, there are three contests.

“We are having a normal big buck contest,” Clark said. “The second is a unique contest that we are calling ‘match weight contest’. We understand people that people in Escambia County who hunt on government land are not going to kill a buck as big as someone maybe on private land here or in Monroe County or somewhere bigger. We want to include everybody. The match weight contest will allow you to submit two deer and we will take out, at the end of the season, out of the pool, the match weight contestants. Say we have 500 people, I will draw a name and we will take the weight of the deer say 100.2 pounds. We will take the last two numbers, which will be 02. We will draw at a banquet and a promotional company will send us a sealed envelope with a two-digit number on it from 00-99. If your number matches that, you will win a new vehicle from Peach Automotive valued at $25,000”

Clark said you would have a 1-in-100 chance at winning the prize in this contest.

“Really, you have a good chance if not a lot of people play,” Clark said. “It is the best chance at winning a new vehicle. Peach Automotive is our sponsor and they are going to give us a vehicle.”

The third contest is a raffle. Clark said the raffle is for everyone who does not go hunting or wants to contribute to the cause.

“We want to include people, more so that think about someone else,” Clark said. “The raffle winner will receive a three-day rut hunt or January hunt somewhere in Alabama. We don’t have an outfitter yet, but we have three and it will be one of the better outfitters in Alabama.”

So if you want to help a hunter or donate, buy a raffle ticket, Clark said.

“We will draw a name at the end of the year and that person will hunt somewhere in Alabama for three days,” Clark said. “We are really excited about the grand prize. Most contests give away a four-wheeler. That is standard. We decided since this is about charity and experiences, we will give the winner an experience. The winner will get a free, three-day muzzleloader hunter in Pike County in Illinois. That is the No. 1 county in the country to kill a big buck. That is where you want to go. Eagle Lake outfitters in Illinois donated the hunt because of the Catch-A-Dream tie-in. If we did not have Catch-A-Dream, we would not get this.”

Clark said they already have over $10,000 in donations so far all from Brewton area businesses.

“Scott’s Outdoors in Jay is going to outfit the hunter for that trip from the muzzleloader to the clothes, the boots and everything for that weather,” Clark said. “We are going to give him a $250 gas card and buy his license. The guy that wins that trip will have a trip of a lifetime. We want him to kill a big buck and see why this contest is different because of the cause and experience. We will have second and third place winners, gift cards and monthly winners.”

The big buck ticket has to be purchased before the season starts, Clark said.

“The other tickets can be purchased anytime,” Clark said. ‘With all contests, there is fraud so the winners will have to take a polygraph test to make sure the deer is killed legally and from the areas here and surrounding counties of Escambia County. We have to make sure all is fair and most contests of this size do that.”

Clark said his vision is to cast a positive light on Brewton.

“Brewton is a charitable town,” Clark said. “There are a lot of hunters in Brewton and they are charitable. I think there is no better way but to show off our best natural resources. That is what this is about. We want it to be big like the Blueberry Festival and as Brewton is known for that, we want them known for this.”

The contest starts October 15, when the season starts and runs through the end of the Florida deer hunting season. The winner will be announced by a banquet or at the Wild Game Supper or the Chamber banquet.

“Our goal is to sell 1,000 tickets,” Clark said. “We have raised enough money to pay for the contest. We want to do more and give plenty to the charities. Our goal is to raise enough money to send a kid on a trip. We are excited and everyone we have talked to is excited and only told us yes. Tickets will be available Aug. 15 and will be available at locations throughout the county.

Clark said W.S. Neal Quarterback Club is also selling tickets to the event as is T.R. Miller’s Quarterback Club is selling these as well.

“Some of the volunteer firefighters are selling them and that will help them,” Clark said.

“We are giving W.S. Neal a small percentage of the tickets they sell. They are going to reap the benefits. We are giving them a percentage of every ticket they sell for the contest. If you buy a ticket from a charitable organization, they are going to get some of the benefits. Anyway we can help, we want to help the community. That is what we are supposed to do.”

Donations are still being taken by anyone that wants to be apart of the contest. Here are the sponsors to date: Pepsi Cola and Scott’s Outdoors (Jay, FL) are the “Co-Title” sponsors. Other sponsors are: BankTrust, Double M Farms, Eagle Lakes Outfitters (Pike Co. Illinois), McMillan Limited, Goodway Refining, Cedar Creek Land and Timber, Peach Automotive, Special Touch Restoration Inc., The Brewton Standard, Westgate Village, and New Breed Archery.

For more information, contact the chamber or Clark at BankTrust bank in Brewton.