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Boone and Crockett Club Generation Next Youth Banquet Full of Hope



At its recent 30th Big Game Awards at the Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium in Springfield, Missouri, the Boone and Crockett Club put the future of conservation on center stage with its fourth Jack Steele Parker Generation Next banquet. The banquet honored hunters who were 16 or younger when they harvested a Boone and Crockett record-book animal. These trophies were entered over the last three years.

"At our big game awards banquets we typically honor the animals, but this one is different," said Justin Spring, the Club's director of Big Game Records. "Here we recognize young sportsmen along with their parents and mentors."

The Generation Next Awards, sponsored by Vista Outdoor and Federal Ammunition proved to be one of the weekend's most popular and inspirational highlights.

"It was really special to be a part of this wonderful evening and event," said Ryan Bronson, director of Conservation & Public Policy for Vista Outdoor. "Parents were beaming, of course, but everyone was moved by the words, sentiments and maturity of these fine young people. This is in large part why we do what we do at Vista Outdoor--see to it that our young people are engaged, equipped and confident."

In total, between 2016 and 2018, 175 youth hunters entered their trophies into the conservation records. Thirty-eight of these trophies were on public display in the museum and 47 young hunters and their families were able to attend the banquet and be honored.

NASCAR legend and Boone and Crockett member Richard Childress opened up the evening with an inspirational address. He thanked the parents for all they have done in introducing their kids to the outdoors, and reminded the kids that they are the next generation who will be representing these outdoor values.

Keynote speaker, Melissa Bachman, host of "Winchester's Deadly Passion" on the Outdoor Channel, spoke of how the discipline of hunting taught her life skills such as self-reliance, problem solving, humility, sportsmanship and self-determination - the later of which was instrumental in launching her career in outdoor television. She told the audience, "It doesn't matter who you are, what you look like, or where you come from, you can do anything you put your mind to."

From the smiles on these bright young faces it was clear to everyone in the room that there is hope for the future of wildlife, conservation, and the traditions of hunting.