Over 22,500 SCI Members from 100 countries, exhibitors and members of the press converged on Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas Nevada to celebrate hunting and raise money for Safari Club International. For over 4,000 attendees, it was their first SCI Convention.
Those in attendance had the opportunity to see over 1,100 exhibitors from around the world to book hunts and shop from a wide variety of hunting products.
During the four-day convention, members who attended were able to see the finest wildlife taxidermy work in the world displayed in a variety of settings throughout the show floor and in booths. Wildlife artwork by the world’s most renowned wildlife artists was on display in a number of booths set up as simulated art galleries. Not only were there thousands of pieces of original art on display, but the artists who created the work were there to visit and meet with attendees and those interested in purchasing a unique piece of art.
Firearms from gun companies all over the world were on display and included many custom gun makers who will build rifles and shotguns to the detailed specifications of the customer. Some firearms exhibitors featured workers actually building a gun right in the booth. Attendees were treated to a unique opportunity to see wood and metal come together to produce a fine custom firearm.
Attendees interested in learning more about a number of subjects attended a variety of seminars each day that included everything from trophy preparation to getting ready for your first African safari. Seminars were presented by experts in their fields who were more than willing to share their knowledge and answer questions from seminar participants.
Thousands of hunts were booked all over the world and SCI members took advantage of the wide variety of outfitters who offer unique and exciting hunts. Having so many top notch outfitters in one area made shopping for the perfect hunt very easy.
“The 2014 SCI Convention was another shining example of why SCI is so important to the hunting community worldwide,” said SCI President Craig Kauffman. “Hunters came to celebrate our passion of hunting while at the same time to raise money to fund conservation efforts, promote sustainable hunting and ensure our rights as outdoorsman are protected.”
The daily, evening and silent auctions which ran every day of the convention were filled with hunts, firearms, artwork, jewelry and other products up for sale to the highest bidder. Auctions raised money to support SCI and the SCI Foundation in its efforts to protect and promote conservation and hunting.
Notable auction items included a 5-day Vancouver Island Black Bear Hunt for One Hunter – Guided by Jim Shockey, and donated by Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventure that sold for $28,000. Rigby donated a Rigby London Best model in .416 Rigby valued at $48,300, sold for $51,000 and a 5-day Oak Creek Whitetail Ranch Coveted First Week of the Season Hunt sold for $15,000.
The total gross revenue for the 2014 SCI convention was $15.5 million. These funds will go directly to support hunter advocacy and wildlife conservation. Funds raised will also support the Safari Club International’s Political Action Committee (SCI-PAC) which helps protect hunter’s rights and ensure hunting access for future generations.
Notable attendees included world renowned hunting experts Craig Boddington and Jim Shockey. Congressman Bob Latta (OH) was SCI’s Federal Legislator of the Year and he attended along with Representatives Ken Calvert (CA), Steve Daines (MT), Jeff Duncan (SC), Renee Ellmers (NC), Billy Long (MO), Steve Palazzo (MS), and Steve Stockman (TX). Canadian Member of Parliament Garry Breitkruez was SCI’s International Legislator of the Year for 2014. The Director General Zhang Xiwu of China’s Wildlife Department attended for the first time with staff from his department. Mr. Carvalho Muaria, Minister of Tourism of Mozambique, attended meetings along with Edson Chidziya, Acting Director General for Zimbabwe Parks & Wildlife. The Honorable Martin Andjaba, Ambassador to the U.S. from Namibia, was joined by his colleague Elly Hamunyela, Deputy Director of Natural Resources Management for the Ministry of Environment & Tourism for the week. Additional government representatives from Congo, Tanzania and South Africa joined in daily meetings to discuss sustainable wildlife management in Africa.
The 42nd SCI Annual Hunters convention was a celebration of hunting and conservation. Money raised will help ensure sound conservation efforts and protection of hunters’ rights. No other group in the world delivers the hunting and conservation message as well and as strongly as SCI.
Safari Club International’s 43rd Annual Hunters’ Convention will return to Las Vegas, Nevada, February 4-7, 2015, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino.