Q & A with 2022 Bucks for the Brave Winner, Lyn Dupree
Nominations for the Bucks for the Brave end September 11th, 2023. Make sure to nominate your hero NOW.
If you guys have been hanging around here long enough, then you know that Cowboy Lifestyle Network is proud to be a media sponsor for the one and only Bucks for the Brave Hunt hosted by Sportsman’s Choice Record Rack, a brand of Cargill. Sportsman’s Choice is a collection of premium wildlife feed made for deer, elk, exotics, and fish. Naturally, their audience has a love for the outdoors, wildlife, hunting, and all things patriotic. Several years ago, Marketing Lead, Jodi Dallman Cornelison, had the vision to provide a once-in-a-lifetime hunting experience to veterans and retired first responders. Every year, I am thrilled to have the opportunity to promote and cover the Bucks for the Brave event over Veteran’s Day weekend. For this feature on Bucks for the Brave, I sat down with 2022 Coast Guard Winner, Lyn Dupree to hear all of his thoughts on the event. You can read more about how Bucks for the Brave is supporting American Heroes, here.
Krysta: What was it like knowing that you were nominated for last year’s Bucks for the Brave event? Did you think you would end up winning?
Lyn: This is an interesting question. When I ran across the nomination on Facebook, I casually sent it to my daughter and asked her what she thought. The next thing I knew, she gleefully sent me what she had submitted on Facebook. It was a thrill to be nominated. However, knowing that my daughter put into words what she understood my career to be was almost overwhelming. Of course, I had no idea that I would end up winning the trip. I will say that I have always been lucky, so I figured I had a good shot. Who am I kidding, I honestly thought I would win it! Is it wrong to admit that? I hope not.
Krysta: Looking back before your trip, what were your expectations of attending Bucks for the Brave?
Lyn: I am going to be blatant. I really didn’t know what to expect due to the fact that I had never heard of it before. When I was selected, I was ecstatic because of the prospect of taking an actual trophy whitetail. I really thought this was about a hunt. I knew I would meet new people on this trip, I knew there were awesome and generous sponsors, and I knew the ranch was going to be nice.
Krysta: What was your actual experience like compared to your expectations?
Lyn: Let’s just start by saying I was wrong in my expectations. Seriously, I could not have been more off-base. Again, the expectation for me had everything to do with hunting. Whereas the Bucks for the Brave is about relationships with a service-before-self atmosphere, appreciation, thankfulness, and loyalty. I could go into great detail about each of these adjectives but please know that each word I used was intentional. I will delve into service-before-self for a moment as it relates to my experience. Each member of the staff and the many sponsors that attended were so much more than casual observers. Everyone had a purpose in serving the veterans and first responders. Some jobs were small, some jobs were huge, some jobs were inexpensive, some were very costly, some roles were thankless and others were wrought with appreciation. It is truly a special group of personnel that put on the Bucks for the Brave. Every single person there chose to be there, chose to be involved, chose to make a difference in my life. All in all, it is the people I look back on that fulfilled what I now know to be the actual purpose of the Bucks for the Brave.
Krysta: What was your favorite part about the trip?
Lyn: Honestly, what I remember most about the trip is Jodi. This was her first Bucks for the Brave since the passing of her husband. I have no doubt that I was selected for this opportunity to be able to in some small way encourage her. I remember the first night I was there around the campfire listening to the outstanding music provided for us and overhearing Jodi say that she would always be the last one to go to bed. She would never leave anyone at the campfire alone. She was right that night but I took that as a challenge the next night. I chose to stay around the campfire for as long as it took. We sat up and talked for hours and had a wonderful time talking about all sorts of things. It wasn’t until a little after 4 AM when I almost fell headfirst into the fire that I knew she meant what she said about being the last one up. She never faltered and her true servant character was on full display. For me, Jodi was the capstone of Bucks for the Brave.
Krysta: Do you have any closing thoughts about Bucks for the Brave or your experience in general?
Lyn: It has been just shy of 300 days since I attended Buck for the Brave. There has not been a single day that has gone by that I have not thought about it. Not one day! What made the trip special besides what I have already said? Trinity Oaks and the Thumbtack Ranch to start. What a place! I’ll never forget driving into the area where we were going to hunt on the first morning. The electronic gate with the giant Record Rack Serious Nutrition sign affixed to it. I remember imagining the little Jeep going into Jurassic Park. That is sort of what it felt like at the moment. Of course, I expected to see trophy whitetail deer and many other exotic species of animals. I would have never imagined I would see as many as 10 bucks on one morning’s hunt. One particular memory was with my exceptional guide Doug. On our very first morning after the first light, there were probably 8-10 deer feeding in a path. I was able to see several hundred yards down the path when I saw without question the largest set of antlers I have ever seen. I watched the buck amble toward the other deer and noticed how wide and tall the whitetail antlers were. I felt positive when he presented a shot that Doug would give me the green light. I certainly didn’t want to come across as a rookie to my experienced guide, so I waited for Doug to talk to me. After the 14-point buck was about 180 yards away, I was so excited and very impatient. I simply glanced back at Doug taking my eyes away from the complimentary set of Vortex Binoculars only to hear him give me gut-wrenching news.
He said, and I quote, “You’d like to shoot that deer wouldn’t you?” I responded in a flash, “Yes!” He said, “Unfortunately that deer has three more years before we hunt him.” Honestly, I didn’t know whether to be devastated or even more encouraged at the prospect of a buck that might fit what we were looking for. It was an odd feeling and one that gives me goosebumps still to this day. The Watusi round-up! What in the world is a Watusi? I got a surefire introduction that day. What a beautiful animal that is much more savvy than all of the John Deere Gators, golf carts, trucks, and a whole bunch of people. Such a fun, unexpected, and spontaneous thing to do. I am positive all of the volunteers had as much fun on this true Western/modern cattle round-up as the veterans did.
Krysta: Can you touch on the friendships that you came away with after the trip?
Lyn: The fellow veterans who were selected to attend alongside me are my true friends that I frequently talk with. We not only shared in service, but we also shared in gratitude. Gratitude provided by the Bucks for the Brave. It is interesting to watch veterans come together for the first time. Like many times I’ve been around other veterans for the first time, we assimilate easily because of shared experiences. We are nearly always able to appreciate and comprehend each other instantly and begin the sarcastic banter that is a staple in military relationships especially with members from different services. Most civilians would consider our behavior offensive. I am not sure of the psychology of this phenomenon but it was on full display as soon as we met in the airport and definitely by Cavender’s.
Krysta: What would you say to anyone who is contemplating nominating a hero in their own life? 1 response
Lyn: I remember thinking that I didn’t deserve this. I can tell you that you would be the only person at the Bucks for the Brave that feels like this. All of the sponsors and volunteers believe you deserve it, and are going to do everything in their power to prove it to you over the course of your stay. Remove any feelings of guilt, and allow them the honor and privilege of loving on you for a short period of time. They are genuine, kind, and generous because you have given your life to service. Service to our country, our communities, our families. They merely want to express a level of gratitude that we are not used to receiving. Accept it!
I personally want to thank Lyn for his service, alongside all of the other veterans, active duty, and first responders who serve their community and their country on a regular basis.
There is Still Time to Nominate Your Own Hero!
This event was started as a way to show support for our military and first responders. The mission of Bucks for the Brave is to provide a platform for the loved ones and communities that support these heroes, to share their stories, and to unite us all in honoring and recognizing their service to our country. The all-inclusive event is a small way for us to give them the thanks they deserve, and the opportunity to experience some of the comradery they’ve been missing. Visit the following link and submit a nomination for the hero in your life, who is no longer serving in the following fields: Air Force/Space Force Veteran, Army Veteran, Coast Guard Veteran, Marine Corps Veteran, Navy Veteran, Retired Law Enforcement, Retired Firefighter, and Retired EMT.
- Nominate and recognize a hero in your life. You can nominate any retired or non-working nominee from the following fields: Air Force/Space Force Veteran, Army Veteran, Coast Guard Veteran, Marine Corps Veteran, Navy Veteran, Retired Law Enforcement, Retired Firefighter, and Retired EMT.
- Upload a photo to the Sportman’s Choice website with your hero’s story.
- Wait for the Grand Prize Winner announcement that will be made on October 6, 2023.