Texoma DU tradition endures for the 45th time

By Lynn Burkhead
For the Herald Democrat

For many weeks last spring, the thought of holding the 45th edition of the Texoma Ducks Unlimited fundraising dinner this year seemed like a taunting mirage shimmering on a faraway horizon in a parched desert land.

But that was then, and this is now as the modern pandemic charts its own storylines of deadly plague, argumentative politics, and fear and uncertainty gripping the world as we all try to recover and move on from the COVID-19 outbreak.

Over time, it has become obvious that difficult as the coronavirus outbreak has been, the Texas economy and way of life has begun the slow trek back towards normalcy, whatever that is. And over time, thoughts of a return to events like a DU gathering began to seem possible again.

Already, in the past couple of months, DU fundraiser events have taken place in other North Texas communities like Whitesboro. And now, after months of wondering and waiting, it’s finally the Texoma DU chapter’s turn as the group gets set for its 2020 event next week on Tuesday, Oct. 20 at the Hilton Garden Inn Texoma Event Center in Denison.

For sure, that event will have a bit of a different look and feel. But then again, there will be the same familiar commitment to go to work for the ducks and keep them flying for future generations who will know about this year only when they read their history books.

What will be familiar next week during the 6-10 p.m. quacker backer event is the usual array of DU merchandise, sporting art, wildlife collectibles and hunting and fishing gear available through the event’s raffles, special games, silent auction and live auction.

But what will look different is the way the dinner unfolds, as well as how it looks, as numbers will be limited due to the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Overall seating capacity is limited, sponsorship table configuration and numbers will be in accordance with health mandates; and face coverings and social distancing will still be in place.

With all of that in mind, individual ticket prices are $60; Bronze Sponsorships are $300; Silver Sponsor Tables are $750; and Gold Sponsor Tables are $1,500.

Since seating will be limited due to the Lone Star State’s ongoing coronavirus response, get your tickets early if you plan on attending the event. As noted before, a sell-out is all but certain, so visit the DU website at www.ducks.org/events or contact a Texoma DU committee member if you want to attend.

For more information or to purchase tickets, call current Texoma DU chairman Kris Spiegel at 903-820-8882; past Texoma DU chairman Eric Kloppers at 903-815-2229; or retired DU regional director and Texoma Chapter co-founder Jim Lillis at 903-815-8002.

There’s little doubt that the world has changed a lot during this crazy year that continues to unfold. But what’s also true is that even in a 2020 run through the calendar that many would just as soon forget, the work for wildlife conservation continues, virus or not.

And thanks to the hard work, tireless commitment and determined effort that DU workers near and far display to help keep the ducks keep flying south for generations to come, put your mask on, stay 6-feet away from your neighbor, pull out your wallet, and go to work for the ducks next Tuesday night in Denison.

Because even though the virus has tragically taken away so many things during it’s deadly run, the sights and sounds of wild ducks and geese flying south on the Creator’s autumn canvas are not one of them.

And that’s something still worth celebrating, especially as the fall north winds start to blow.