The Bucks for the Brave Hunt has come and gone, much too quickly in my opinion…but I want to share with you an inside look at what this event accomplished, not only for the veterans and first responders that we served but for myself as well. Before I get started there are several people and organizations that deserve to be recognized for their efforts. First, Record Rack, a brand owned by Cargill, is the company that organizes this event each year, but they work hand in hand with Trinity Oaks Non-Profit Organization to make everything come together. Unrelated to the event, Record Rack donates about 20 tons of feed to Trinity Oaks per month, how crazy is that? For those of you just tuning into this adventure, I urge you to go back and get the full story on Trinity Oaks because it is worth the read. There were also several sponsors for this event that contributed to the weekend that these 7 men will never forget. So a huge thanks to Resistol for donating hats, Wrangler and Wrangler Network for attending and donating jeans and western shirts, Cavender’s for letting us take over your store, Hunt’n Buddy App for attending and sponsoring the event, and RFDTV for attending and sponsoring the event as well. There were so many wonderful companies that made this event possible, we would like to thank, Black Gold Pet Food, Wrangler® National PatriotTM, Cirrus Outdoors, Tactical Intent, Rodeo News, Muddy Water Creative and Green Wing Marketing. Now for the good stuff!
Bucks for the Brave Hunt Day 1 – Arrival
To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect stepping off the plane in San Antonio. We work with Record Rack on a regular basis, so I knew who I’d to be meeting for the most part, but other than that, I was going to meeting a lot of new people! The group was pretty hard to miss coming into the downstairs lobby of the San Antonio Airport. With a group of about 15 people and a big banner that read, “Welcome” with the Bucks for the Brave Hunt logo on the front, you couldn’t miss them. Then one by one, we stood and greeted the seven winners, who were probably unsure of what to expect as well.
From there, we left the airport and headed to Cavender’s. What the guys didn’t know at the time was that they were about to get decked out in western wear! This is where all of the great sponsors were able to lend a helping hand. At this point, a few of the guys were really showing their personality, one in particular who we knew was going to be a joker from the get-go, and boy was he ever! (Thank you, Greg, for the continual laughs all weekend, you touched many lives that weekend.)
This is a good time to mention that we were honored to have a couple of PRCA athletes with us all weekend as well. Dakota Eldridge and Heith DeMoss joined us and ended up making a huge impact on connecting with the winners and adding a little something extra to the weekend. This is also a good time to mention that personally, I didn’t think I would know anyone going into this, come to find out there were quite a few people I had full intentions of coming into this to do my job, which is to “cover the event” (photos, social, videos..etc.) but, I ended up, also, being sucked into the magic of Trinity Oaks instead of just doing my job. (More on that further down!)
So the rest of Day 1 was spent traveling back to the ranch, in two massive, truck limos with a long line of Patriot and Blue Line motorcycles, police officers, Fire Trucks and other first responders escorting us to Batesville, which is where the ranch is. What an experience that was! Now, a truly funny story is that there was a gentleman in the back of the limo, who A.) I didn’t know and B.) had a camera guy following him around. I was lost…but didn’t give much thought to it. Come to find out, I learned from some new friends that he is the “Pigman“. For those of you who are also in the dark, he’s a pretty big hunting TV personality. Did I say a big personality? It’s true! But they don’t come any nicer than him. It was truly a pleasure being able to spend the weekend with him and his whole team.
Day 2: The Hunt
This is when things started to get fun. One of the many perks for the winners of the Bucks for the Brave Hunt is actually being able to go out on guided hunts to get, not just the buck of their dreams, but also an opportunity to shoot some wild pigs and other things that are on the ranch. (Mind you, pigs are a nuisance in Texas). The first morning proved to be rather successful, with each man coming back with one kind of animal or another and smiles and laughter were abundant.
There was no shortage of food, beer or entertainment, whether it was planned or not. This was the point at the weekend where everyone started getting comfortable with each other and personalities really started to come out. But here’s the cool thing…everyone was exactly who they were and we all accepted each other for that. We shared the same space, not only literally, but figuratively as well. It was truly amazing to see so many people with so many different backgrounds come together and accept each other as is, no questions asked.
Day 3: Don Trump Jr.
Day three looked a whole lot like day two except the weight of the reason why we were all there really started to sink in and this is when the conversations started getting really good. You know how sometimes you just know you’re in the right place at the right time? Well, everyone that was a part of this was experiencing the same thing. Tom Snyder, Founder of Trinity Oaks calls it the “Trinity Magic”. And he’s not wrong. Lifelong friendships were solidified on this day. People who don’t speak up and don’t like to be vulnerable, opened up and allowed themselves to be seen and appreciated. This is when the magic happened.
Then we got hit with the awesome bomb that Don Trump Jr. was making a quick pit stop on his way to Dallas to come to say hi and speak to these men. And boy, he didn’t disappoint! He spent about two-three hours, and at the end of it, we all ended up with 2-3 signed copies of his new book, “Triggered”. Needless to say, in a very conservative crowd, he was a huge hit!
Day 4: Happy Veteran’s Day!
Ah! Now the reason why we were all gathered here in the first place, Veteran’s Day. I would like to start this part of the story by saying thank you. Thank you to our veterans, first responders, active-duty, and many others that are putting their lives on the line every single day to protect their country and their community. This trip really solidified the reason for the “holiday” and it’s more than free stuff and saying thank to those that served. It goes way beyond that. Sometimes it means sitting and listening to their stories. Offering them the silent support that they may not even ask for. Cracking them a cold one. Or just laying a hand on them for much-needed prayer. There were a little bit of all of these things that weekend. Again, nothing short of magical.
Okay! On with the last full day of the Bucks for the Brave Hunt. The last day was bittersweet as we knew that this weekend was slowly coming to an end. There were plenty of pictures taken, phone numbers exchanged and beers drank that day. All with the intention that it wasn’t goodbye forever, just goodbye for now. The Trinity Oaks Team doesn’t do anything small, so of course, in true Trinity fashion, our dinner that night was steak, King Crab Legs, and baked potatoes! What a meal that was! Not a bad way to send everyone off the next morning. It was a sobering evening knowing that we were all headed back to the real world the next day. Some goodbyes were said that night and others, we knew we’d see in the morning.
Day 5: Time to Head Home!
This morning was a mix of joy and sadness, knowing that we were all walking away with new friends that we could call on at any time of the day. New people to have on our side and have our back. Friends that will just check-in for the heck of it, but most of all, we get to walk away with the experience of a lifetime. These are the memories that we don’t forget. These are the stories that get told to kids and grandkids. All I can hope is that I touched at least one person that weekend. A good man was explaining that you never know who’s life you’re going to touch or when it’s going to happen. So you have to live your life knowing that you could make a difference at any point, even at your lowest. There were several instances throughout the trip that I was affected and I walked away with this weekend turning into much more than just a “work trip”. It was such an absolute blessing that I was able to attend. Thank you, Record Rack, for the opportunity and Trinity Oaks for your amazing hospitality. I can’t wait for next year! If you are interested in learning more about Record Rack and their mission with Bucks for the Brave, you can check out their website or contact them via Facebook.
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