EDGEFIELD, S.C. — The future of hunting, shooting, fishing and other outdoor traditions rests on the shoulders of an important group of people: today’s youth.
To honor North America’s young people and remind adults about the importance of teaching children about the outdoors, the National Wild Turkey Federation has dedicated an entire weekend to promote North America’s hunting heritage. The theme of the 35th annual NWTF National Convention and Sport Show is “Our Youth. Our Legacy.”
“Since part of our mission is preserving our hunting heritage, we always try to creatively involve youth and their families at the NWTF national convention,” said NWTF CEO George Thornton. “It’s important for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to remember that we have a responsibility to pass on our outdoor traditions. Our convention theme will serve as a reminder.”
The convention, which will take place Feb. 18 to Feb. 20 in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, is one of the largest gatherings of hunters and other outdoor enthusiasts in North America. More than 40,000 people, including many families, are expected to attend. The three-day event, sponsored by MidwayUSA, features a giant sport show that is larger than four football fields and loaded with the latest hunting and outdoor gear.
Families who attend will find no shortage of activities for people of all ages, starting with “The Roost,” the center for families in the sport show exhibit hall. Youth can try archery, air guns, casting and fishing, and even watch presentations with live animals. By completing a variety of conservation education activities, each child can earn a collectible patch. Smokey Bear and Jake, the NWTF’s mascot, will be available for photos and high-fives.
Sunday, Feb. 20 will also focus on youth as Grand National Turkey Calling Champions will be crowned in three youth divisions, sponsored by Mossy Oak Brand Camo. Winners will be named in the poults (ages 10 and under), juniors (ages 11 to 15), and intermediate (ages 16 to 20) divisions. Winning one of these divisions is a special honor, because the Grand National Turkey Calling Championships are the premier turkey calling contests in the world.
A general admission pass is all that’s required to access the sport show, “The Roost,” the calling contests and seminars taught by professional hunters and land managers. For the first time, NWTF members and active-duty military personnel will receive a free general admission pass. Non-members may join the NWTF for just $30 and get a three-day general admission pass and subscription to the NWTF’s Turkey Country magazine. A three-day pass and JAKES membership costs just $10 for youth ages 11 to 17. Children ages 10 and under are free. Visit http://www.nwtf.org/special_events/convention.html to register for the 35th annual NWTF National Convention and Sport Show.
Founded in 1973, the NWTF is dedicated to the conservation of the wild turkey and the preservation of our hunting heritage.
To help achieve that mission, the NWTF started the JAKES (Junior Acquiring Knowledge, Ethics and Sportsmanship) outreach program to help encourage youth to try outdoor activities. At JAKES events held across North America, instructors teach youth ages 12 and under the principles of wildlife management and safe, ethical and responsible hunting. Xtreme JAKES is designed for teens ages 13 to 17, and provides opportunities and challenges more in-line with older JAKES members’ abilities and experiences.
Hands-on activities during JAKES/Xtreme JAKES events across North America include fishing, archery, hiking, mountain biking and game calling, as well as instruction on hunting, conservation, the wild turkey and more.
To find out more or to register a youth for the JAKES program, visit nwtf.org.
2011 Convention Sponsors
MidwayUSA – Official Sponsor
Academy Sports and Outdoors, Bass Pro Shops, Bank of America, Benelli USA, Browning-USRAC, Call Makers and Collectors Association of America, Chevrolet, Federal Premium Ammunition, Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, HuntVe, Marlin Firearms Company, Mossberg & Sons Inc., Nashville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Nationwide, The Outdoor Connection Inc., Remington Arms Company Inc., Rivers Edge Treestands, SHE Outdoor Apparel, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, Weatherby Inc., Wild Turkey Bourbon, Winchester/Olin Corporation