I sincerely appreciate the Board’s vote of confidence by electing me to serve as President for the next three years. We will continue to work hard to carry on the great tradition of Weatherby Foundation International (WFI) and the Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award, as well as meeting our mission and expanding our grants programs.
I would like to start out by thanking Dr. Ralph Cunningham for his steadfast leadership, mentorship, and inspiration as WFI’s President during the past two and a half years. During his Presidency, WFI continued to evolve, while also maintaining the unique six decade long history that makes Weatherby so special. Thank you also to our dedicated Board and talented Executive Administrator, Cass Olmstead.
The Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award is considered by many to be the world’s most prestigious and desired hunting award. The Weatherby Award Gala, where the Award is presented each year, is arguably the biggest party of international hunters anywhere. Proven by the event being attended by many of the world’s most active hunters, legendary guides and outfitters, along with like-minded celebrities and political leaders.
Beyond being a great celebration of one of our greatest passions, we also recognize a peer who has reached the pinnacle of their hunting career. One winner annually, that embodies the qualities of the ultimate sportsman; extensive worldwide hunting experience, a dedication to promoting conservation, and the highest regard of ethical standards. Our winner this year, Jim Shockey, encompasses all of this and much more as a vocal champion of fair chase hunting and protecting wild places. Jim is easily recognized around the world in his iconic black cowboy hat and red bandana as a great ambassador and storyteller of “why we hunt.”
Though the gala’s primary focus is recognizing and celebrating the Weatherby Award winner, it also serves as the primary fundraiser for WFI, our vibrant non-profit. Weatherby’s mission statement is “to educate youth and the non-hunting public on the beneficial role of ethical sport hunting and its contribution to wildlife conservation”. In 2018, the foundation has supported Outdoor Tomorrow Foundation, Trinity Oaks, Sportsmen’s Alliance, Student Air Rifle Program, No Child Left Indoors, and Freedom Hunters with a total of $112,500. During the rest of 2018 and 2019, it is expected that WFI will be able to give grants totaling as much as $250,000. WFI is so thankful for the gifts from our donors and the generosity of our gala’s attendees for buying our auction items. In the spirit of philanthropy, attendees often pay above retail for items because of their belief and support of how WFI uses these funds to further its mission.
I personally invite you to attend our Weatherby Award Gala on Wednesday, January 16th at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Join us in honoring Jim Shockey, trading hunting stories with old friends, making new connections, and raising money to ensure that WFI can continue our mission “to educate youth and the non-hunting public on the beneficial role of ethical sport hunting and its contribution to wildlife conservation”. We look forward to seeing you then!
God bless and good hunting,