Greetings Weatherby Foundation friends and supporters,
Who would have thought that our concept of reality would one day be held ransom by a microbe? As I reflect back on all that has transpired during 2020 – the year that had no future and limited celebrations – for me, the most challenging symptom was not being able to daydream of upcoming hunting plans, as many were canceled or postponed. As challenging as it has already been for so many, it may be of small comfort to know that we are in the midst of a process that, for better or worse, will pass.
As the world around us seemed to be canceled and postponed, many of our outfitter friends had no hunting seasons or drastically reduced seasons. Beyond the negative impact on their businesses and rural economies, there has been a negative global repercussion from the lack of hunters’ presence and funds on wildlife, grassroots conservation, and the pristine wilderness we seek out. Please keep our outfitter friends in mind as the world returns to normal, and start thinking about booking your next hunts.
All of the significant hunting conventions in North America have been canceled. In many cases, these conventions are the primary source of revenue for the organizations that work to conserve wildlife and our hunter-conservationist way of life. With the cancellation of the Dallas Safari Club convention, the Weatherby Award gala was also canceled. It was assumed that without the income from our gala, we would be unable to continue to support our philanthropic partners in the coming year.
However, there is light and hope to this message: the Weatherby Board – along with some of our strongest supporters – came together, donating the necessary funds that will help carry our programs until our next gala in 2022. The fact remains that we are in this together, locally and globally, and committed to our shared mission and passion.
As our hunting community evolves, so does Weatherby’s role within it as a leading foundation. We face increased challenges from the Animal Rights Extremists (ARE’s) that will not cease to impose their fact-devoid beliefs to the detriment of the animals they claim to protect. Because of this, the Weatherby Board recently revised our mission statement to reflect this evolution: “to educate youth and the non-hunting public on the beneficial role of ethical sport hunting and its contribution to wildlife conservation, and to protect our constitutional right to do so.”
Though we will be unable to host a gala for the first time in Weatherby’s 64-year history, we are very much looking forward to recognizing and celebrating Alexander Egorov’s incredible hunting and conservation accomplishments in January of 2022. Our 2022 gala will be an unprecedented celebration, both of Alexander and an end to the mayhem we have endured, but especially to bring our community back together, in person. The Award, the celebration, and the direct impact we can make on our mission programs make us all proud. We are successfully carrying on the great tradition of Roy Weatherby and the Weatherby Hunting and Conservation Award while also meeting our mission by supporting like-minded nonprofits with our continually expanding grants programs.
Please join us at the 2022 Weatherby Award Gala, which will be held on Wednesday, 5 January 2022 at the Omni Dallas Hotel in conjunction with Dallas Safari Club’s convention January 6-10, 2022. Thank you for helping Weatherby Foundation International continue our shared mission.
Until then, we wish you and yours the very best for the New Year.
God bless and good hunting,
Ricardo Longoria, President