Volunteers make Dixie Deer Classic happen

CorrespondentFebruary 26, 2014 

  • If you go …

    What: 34th Dixie Deer Classic outdoors exposition

    When: 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday, 9-7 Saturday and 9-5 Sunday

    Where: State Fairgrounds, Raleigh

    Admission: $10 adult (covers three days), $5 Friday for youths, military, seniors, women

    Noteworthy: Experts from around the nation include a variety of TV personalities, including Joe Teti of “Dual Survival” and Lee and Tiffany Lakosky of “Crush.”

    Complete schedule: www.dixiedeerclassic.org

The throngs who will descend on State Fairgrounds this weekend will outnumber the members of the Wake County Wildlife Club nearly 250-to-1.

But the 100 regular members, plus seniors and retirees, have launched their friends and family volunteer networks into action to put on the 34th annual Dixie Deer Classic outdoors exhibition.

“There are 295 people who are putting their world and their lives on hold this week and this weekend,” said Raleigh’s Paul Gessner, who last year took on a newly created role of volunteer coordinator.

Gessner said he doesn’t micromanage the role of every volunteer. Instead, he makes sure each of the various committees has enough volunteers to cover the positions for selling nearly 25,000 tickets, assisting exhibitors with check-in and setup, providing security, measuring about 700 deer heads and more.

“Obviously, if you can keep your costs low with volunteer labor and services, you have more net gain that you can turn around and reinvest into the community and the hunting and wildlife and fishing organizations,” Gessner said.

Last year, 156 volunteers contributed 1,669 hours over the three days, said club spokesman Jim Hudson of Raleigh. Among the volunteers were students in N.C. State’s Leopold Wildlife Club, who conducted a very popular event for children and will be back this weekend.

“These students spend hours prior to the Dixie Deer Classic developing questions for the Wildlife Scavenger Hunt, and then work all through the show to register children, grade the tests, present awards and man the club’s educational exhibit,” Hudson said.

Volunteers and experts from the wildlife club, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and numerous organizations and a variety of exhibitors will welcome 298 students for Friday’s Youth Day with the theme “Careers in Wildlife Conservation and Education.”

N.C. Bowhunters Association volunteers will conduct the archery shoots at the Kerr Scott Building.

Volunteers look forward to the event, said Gessner, who put finishing touches on the staffing plan this past weekend in order to focus on his role as a Superior Court judge.

“It’s part of the hunting seasons,” he said. “You’ve got deer season, duck season, and the 10th weekend of the year is the Dixie Deer Classic. We enjoy what we do.”

Boggess: boggess.teri@gmail.com Twitter: @BoggessT

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