By all measures, Safari Club International’s 47th Annual Convention in Reno, Nevada last week was a huge success, setting the stage for an even bigger and better Convention next year – don’t miss the biggest party in the hunting world to be held in Reno in Feb. 2020. Mark your calendar now and plan to attend!
The SCI Convention this year ran from Jan. 9-12 and saw more than 15,000 of the world’s most serious hunters from more than 100 countries around the world rendezvous at the Reno-Sparks Convention Center for a great time and to raise millions of dollars to support SCI’s mission to protect the freedom to hunt and promote wildlife conservation worldwide.
Nearly 1,000 exhibitors were at the Convention, offering goods and services. The SCI Convention includes more than 460,000 square feet of exhibit space, making it the biggest and most important event of its kind in the hunting world. The overall economic impact of the SCI Convention on the local economy is nearly $20 million.
“It was a great week for SCI,” said SCI President Paul Babaz. “The enthusiasm of members and exhibitors was incredible – the best I have ever seen! This Convention exhibited the embodiment of the concept of HUNTER PRIDE. Now we are looking forward to an even bigger and better SCI Convention next year. Mark your calendars: Jan. 15-18, 2020 for the SCI Convention in Reno.”
Although funds from the Convention are used for the serious business of protecting hunting and conserving wildlife, the Convention also is a time when members celebrate the hunting heritage and have a good time.
“On Saturday evening, the party atmosphere was palpable,” noted SCI Chief Executive Officer Rick Parsons. “Bidding on auction items was competitive and folks were whooping and hollering in support because everyone knew that the money was going for the cause.”
He also noted that an impromptu appeal from the podium by SCI President Paul Babaz, asking for donations to the Super PAC, resulted in thousands of dollars being raised on-the-spot.
The Saturday evening auction demonstrated the overall feel and effectiveness of the entire convention when the fifth and final rifle in the World Heritage Rifle Series brought $260,000. The rifle, created by John Bolliger’s Mountain Riflery in Pocatello, Idaho, honored The Americas. The total package included a breathtakingly beautiful credenza by Tom Julian & Sons.
“There was more support for the cause than I have ever seen,” noted SCI President-Elect Steve Skold.
The SCI Convention was host to several dignitaries from Africa. Delegations from Ethiopia, Namibia, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe met with SCI to discuss the upcoming CITES CoP18.
SCI honored Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan with the 2018 Federal Legislator of the Year Award. Sen. Sullivan was joined at the convention by previous SCI Federal Legislator of the Year Congressman Billy Long of Missouri.
In addition to the spectacular Convention for SCI itself, the SCI Foundation also reported outstanding results.
“SCIF had a great show, raising more than $1.5 million for the mission,” said SCI Foundation Executive Director Bob Benson. “It was a culmination of exceptional work by our staff and volunteers to secure major gifts and execute exciting events and other revenue generators.”
SCI’s next Convention will be held in Reno Jan. 15-18, 2020.