Alaska Friends of NRA

Anchorage, Alaska

In early 2007, the Alaska Friends of NRA took a long hard look at their Anchorage Banquet. Anchorage is the biggest city in Alaska and has over a third of its population, yet the Anchorage banquet was nothing to write home about for many years.

A flash of brilliance hit State Fund Committee Chairman Scott Hamann: "What if we transformed the Anchorage Banquet into the Alaska State Friends of NRA Banquet?" This idea caught on like wildfire throughout the entire Alaska Friends of NRA. However, they did not just want to change the name-they wanted to rewrite the book. The goal of the Alaska State Friends of NRA banquet would be to have the biggest and the most exciting banquet in Alaska.

To have a committee of this scope, size and objective, a strong leader is needed. That leader is Denny Hamann. He leads by example and has an incredible ability to break an obstacle down to its smallest parts and then eliminate them one by one. It also takes a strong committee, which the Alaska State Friends of NRA committee is.

They needed to implement the three-legged stool plan taught to them by Western Region Director JP Nelson. First leg: hold a successful pre-event raffle; second leg: sell out all dinner tickets; and third leg: get as many donations, underwriting and sponsorships as possible. If the three legs were solidly in place, then a successful banquet would be inevitable.

To build the first leg, the committee planned a 50 gun pre-event raffle. Tickets would be $50 each and they would sell 1,500 tickets. With only $25,000 in guns they would net $50,000 once they sold out the raffle. The second leg was easier since the first Alaska State Banquet was a success. The event’s success would not have been possible without Jim "The King" McCaffery, Garry Ervin and "Murdock", who were the raffle meisters of the event. They not only sold all of their event tickets, but they were sold out one month prior to the banquet.

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From left to right: Treasurer Jim "The King" McCaffery, and "raffle meisters" Garry Ervin and Murdock

They approached the task of building the third leg like all the others—divide and conquer. By dividing up local businesses and scouring the city, they became so overwhelmed with donations that they sent some of their surplus to smaller committees in the Alaskan Bush. Their goal was to spend $0 on VDO merchandise and they accomplished their mission. They also brought in $6,205 dollars in underwriting and sold $11,000 in sponsorships.

On the night of the banquet, the doors opened at 5:00 p.m. sharp and there were already attendees lined up at the door. As people flooded into the room the bucket raffles ignited. The silent auction was rockin' and rollin' as the event raffle ticket sellers sold their tickets and the Heads or Tails game, which was always a big hit, was even bigger this year.

Just before the live auction, the committee presented their "Because of You" campaign, allowing attendees to see how the money raised in 2007 was spent. Attendees not only enjoyed the presentation, but it also encouraged them to be even more generous.

The highlight of the evening, however, was the live auction. Because most of the items were donations, the committee only spent about $1,000. The live auction raised over $28,000, which was more than enough to cover their expenses.

Needless to say, the Second Annual Alaska State Friends of NRA banquet was an astounding success. It netted over $124,000 with only 375 people in the room—more than doubling what they did in 2007.

When asked what his secret to running a successful banquet is, Hamann replied, "It is no secret. Keep your costs down, always try to double your money at a minimum and make it fun for the attendees!"

The creation of the Alaska Friends of NRA State Banquet not only brought in a tremendous amount of money to support the shooting sports, but it also brought every committee in Alaska together with the common goal of supporting The NRA Foundation. They are already planning their 2009 banquet and they promise it will be even greater next year. For the Alaska Friends of NRA, the sky is the limit!

Attend a 2009 Friends of NRA event in Alaska. Contact NRA Field Representative Brad Kruger at (907) 235-9059 or via e-mail at [email protected].