On May 17, more than 120 Safari Club International board members, volunteer leaders and guests packed into a ballroom of the Crystal City Hyatt Regency in support of SCI’s Political Action Committee (SCI-PAC). The dinner and live auction raised funds for U.S House and Senate candidates dedicated to promoting and protecting America’s hunting heritage.
The event was emceed by Mike Rogers, Jr. and followed scores of meetings on Capitol Hill during SCI’s Lobby Day. Attendees heard remarks from North Carolina state Senator Bill Rabon, SCI’s 2017 State Legislator of the Year, and from Rep. Paul Gosar, SCI’s 2017 Federal Legislator of the Year. Gosar serves Arizona’s 4th Congressional District and is in his fourth term.
Sen. Rabon was introduced by Government Affairs Committee Co-Chair Trevor Santos and Rep. Gosar by SCI-PAC Committee Co-Chair Sven Lindquist.
During his introduction of Rep. Gosar, Lindquist noted, “This is a special day and really the most important day in the year [for] Safari Club International. Our presence on the Hill indeed does make a difference and thanks to all of you in this room who make it happen.” Lindquist thanked his fellow SCI-PAC Board of Trustees for their help and the Convention Department for donating silent and live auction items.
During his keynote speech, Gosar said that, “Congress is going crazy right now, so being with a bunch of hunters is like being with family.”
He then explained the importance of SCI’s annual Lobby Day. “I did what you did. I came to Washington to lobby. And it matters! It absolutely matters. When we see people from back home passionate about their issue and can come here and have a conversation with a member of Congress—it means a lot.”
Gosar spoke about hunting saying that these are “memories built for a lifetime.” He urged SCI members to be persistent in informing elected officials. “You’re part of an army…don’t take ‘no’ for an answer. Bite and hold on.”
In closing, Gosar compared hunting with the American Dream. “To hear the bugle of an elk, the whistle of wind in the trees… to see birds flying from underneath your feet… these are the experiences of an American Dream. I hope it’s an American Dream you’ll share and have for the future. It’s up to us. It’s up to you.”
After Gosar’s passionate remarks, attendees participated in a lively and productive live auction run by past-president Dennis Anderson. Anderson auctioned off 13 items including overseas hunts in Ireland and South Africa, a fishing trip in Panama and several American flag-themed firearms.