By Lynn Burkhead


Herald Democrat


With October appearing on the calendar, it’s almost time to raise some money for the ducks.


In fact, not one, but two local Ducks Unlimited events will take place over the next week and a half as both the Durant and the Texoma chapters hold their primary 2017 fundraising events.


First up is the fourth annual Durant Ducks Unlimited dinner, scheduled for next Thursday, Oct. 12, at the Choctaw Casino Event Center, located at 3702 Choctaw Road in Bryan County.


Durant DU chairman Chris Dorman says that the doors to the event will open up at 6 p.m., followed by the evening’s dinner catered by Roma Italian in Durant at 7 p.m. The dinner will be followed by the live auction beginning at 8 p.m.


A national award winning DU chapter in 2014 and 2015, Dorman said that he anticipates a good crowd for the group’s event following a chapter reboot several years ago.


Merchandise at this year’s Durant DU dinner will include plenty of 80th anniversary DU collectibles, including the 2017 DU Shotgun of the Year, a 12-gauge Fausti over-and-under.


Other items available in the live auction, silent auction, raffles, and games will include custom acrylic duck calls, a male black Labrador retriever puppy, a duck hunting trip, limited edition DU artwork, decorative decoys, sculptures, hunting gear, a Primo grill/cooker package, Drake waterfowling gear, Tanglefree and Higdon decoys, a K2 cooler, and both a 45-quart and a 65-quart YETI Tundra cooler.


Ticket prices are $50 for singles, $75 for couples, and $20 for Greenwings (youth 17 years of age and under). Each ticket will bring attendees the chance to win door prizes, the evening’s Italian dinner and beverages, and a one-year’s membership into DU including a year’s subscription to the award winning Ducks Unlimited magazine.


“For tickets, you can contact me at 405-517-7187,” said Dorman. “You can also get tickets in downtown Durant during daily business hours at Theorem, which is located at 126th N. 4th Street.”


Pre-event tickets to the Durant dinner are also available online through Oct. 11. at www.ducks.org/oklahoma/events/46415/durant-dinner.


Once the Durant dinner is done, it will quickly be time for the Texoma Ducks Unlimited chapter to host its 42nd annual fundraiser early the following week.


According to Jim Lillis, a retired DU senior regional director from Sherman and one of the original founders of the Texoma chapter, this year’s Texoma dinner will be on Tuesday, Oct. 17, at the Ray Davis Hangar at North Texas Regional Airport at 4700 Airport Road in Denison.


Doors will open at 6 p.m. and the Texas Roadhouse catered dinner will begin at 7 p.m. That will be followed by the silent auction, the live auction and the event’s superb raffles and games.


Like Durant’s fundraiser, the Texoma DU dinner will feature plenty of 80th anniversary DU collectible items, artwork, and sporting firearms. There will also be plenty of decoys, sculptures, hunting gear, and a trip or two.


According to Lillis, the 2017 Texoma dinner will also feature several items donated by the estate of the late Ray Matthews, a longtime Texoma DU supporter and a tireless worker for the ducks who passed away in 2016.


“Ray loved the Texoma Ducks Unlimited chapter and was a past area chairman and treasurer over the years,” said Lillis. “His family has donated a number of items back to us.


“Part of the donations from the estate this year will include some highly collectible Terry Redlin artwork, some DU decanters from the 1990s, some sculptures, and even a wooden flying mallard decoy by carver R.D. Wilson. Ray’s influence will continue on and help our chapter for several more years to come.”


If the merchandise offered by the Texoma DU chapter is strong, so too is the group’s ticket sales and table sales according to chairman Eric Kloppers.


“We’ve gained five new table sponsors this year over last year, so our ticket sales have been good,” said Kloppers. “And we’ve had some folks step forward and help us improve the bottom line by underwriting portions of our (event), so I’m really looking forward to it. “


Ticket prices to the 42nd annual Texoma DU event are $50 in advance, $60 at the door. Greenwings (youth 17 and under) are $25. Sponsorships are $250 (Bronze Sponsorship); $650 (Silver Sponsorship with a table reserved for five people); and $1,250 (Gold Sponsorship with a table reserved for 10 people).


Each ticket gives attendees the chance to win door prizes, the evening’s catered Texas Roadhouse dinner and beverages, and a one-year’s membership into DU including a year’s subscription to the award winning Ducks Unlimited magazine.


Tickets can be purchased locally at Risk Shoe Store in downtown Sherman, from Sherman dentist Dr. Mark Smith, from Eric Kloppers, and from other Texoma DU committee members.


They may also be purchased online before the Oct. 16, deadline at www.ducks.org/texas/events/47233/texoma-dinner.


For more information on Ducks Unlimited, please visit www.ducks.org or call Kloppers at 903-815-2229, Kris Spiegel at 903-820-8882, or Jim Salling at 903-463-1151.