Eli Ruiz | Democrat
New York State National Wild Turkey Federation regional director Lou Perazzini with Sullivan County Long Beards president and recently named event chair Earl (Butch) Kortright (right).
‘Wonderful’ day for Long Beards
Story by Eli Ruiz
ROSCOE April 16, 2013 The Sullivan County Long Beards held their 10th annual banquet and awards ceremony on Sunday, attracting a capacity crowd at the Rockland House.
As the local chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) which itself just marked its 40th anniversary the Long Beards have a hand in several community and youth-oriented programs, the most popular of which is the youth-focused JAKES (Juniors Acquiring Ethics Knowledge and Sportsmanship). Jake is also the term used to describe a young turkey.
Sullivan County Sheriff Mike Schiff dropped by to show his support for the Long Beards, who at last year’s banquet, under former 11-year event chair Hank D’Auria, raised more than $37,000. Also on hand for the event was regional director for the New York Sate chapter of the NWTF Lou Perazzini.
Aside from proceeds from tickets sold to banquet attendees, the group also solicits donations and holds several raffles along with silent and regular auctions throughout the event.
D’Auria was integral to the founding of the well-regarded Long Beards back in November, 2002 In 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 the Long Beards were recognized as the No. 1 New York State Chapter for JAKES membership. In 2008 and 2009 the Long Beards were recognized as the No. 1 NYS Chapter for regular membership, and in 2008 the Long Beards received an award for the best first-time “Wheelin” event in the country.
In 2009 the group received the NYS “Regional Directors Award” for best overall achievement of any chapter in NYS for that year.
Folks milled around the banquet room at the popular bar/eatery perusing the hundreds of goods including paintings, portraits, jewelry, guns and ammo.
The demand for popular “wall of guns” raffle tickets was off the charts as attendees lined up at the wall of guns booth snapping up tickets sold in 50 ticket intervals between drawings until all the guns have been snapped up.
The first winner was Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office detective sergeant Jake Gore, whose $20 dollar raffle ticket garnered him his choice from several rifles and handguns comprising the wall of guns. Gore’s weapon of choice turned out to be a brand new Glock handgun.
Long Beards president and recently named event chair Earl (Butch) Kortright he took over for D’Auria who recently stepped down from the post lauded the group’s many community and youth focused initiatives.
“One of our top priorities is youth,” said Kortright. “We do a lot in the community through the JAKES program and this [the annual banquet] is just an extension of what we do.
All proceeds from the event go back into the organization to fund the things we do and although we’ve had larger turnouts, I think this is just wonderful.”
Long Beards member and Long Eddy resident Todd Mullen affirmed Kortright’s assessment, offering, “Years ago there would be a long waiting list for this event, but with the economy what it is attendance has been a bit lax of late. Still, it’s a great event and it attracts a lot of great people each and every year.”
The total amount of funds raised at Sunday’s 10th annual banquet was unavailable as of press time.
For more information on the Sullivan County Long Beards, go to www.sullivancountylongbeards.org.