Article and photos by MaryAnn Ketcham
The recently celebrated 10th anniversary Busch Family Foundation’s fundraising Wild Game Dinner arrived with a few spectacular additions! And changing the venue to the St. Lucie Fairgrounds allowed for a more effortless traffic flow, a larger clearance for some awe-inspiring surprises, and more space for the crowd to spread out.
As always, the stag-only event drew men that savor the palate-pleasing tastes of freshly prepared dishes such as jambalaya, swamp cabbage, buffalo chili, elk stew, venison sliders, gator, and more. Also, on tap, the gents enjoyed free-flowing top-shelf liquor and ice-cold beer while rocking out to the sounds of Nashville recording artist Randy McNeely and his band. Checking out the multitude of raffle items, including hunting rifles, outdoor gear, shotguns, and more, kept the fellows absorbed.
Overhead, a helicopter appeared, and out its door parachuted a Navy Seal holding a tremendous American flag. Gliding slowing to the ground, the crowd appreciated its glory. They soon joined special guests Congressman Brian Mast and BMCM (SEAL) Rick Kaiser, USN (Ret), who serves as the Chief Operating Officer of the Navy Seal Museum, in a heartfelt recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
Once again, the helicopter appeared staging a mock Helo-Assault Force and a Ground Assault Force, replicating the steps taken to rescue a dignitary. In this case, Special Guest Speaker Ryan Zinke served as the dignitary ‘in need of extraction.’ Two Seals repelled down and ‘saved’ Zinke, a former commander of Seal Team 6, a former US Representative and State Senator (Montana), and the Secretary of Interior during the Trump administration. The demo included the use of Belgian Malinois dogs on the ground.
On stage, Zinke paid tribute to the veterans in the crowd and spoke about American greatness. A fireworks display then lit up the sky, followed by rain. Although the field dampened, spirits did not, and the fundraising continued.
During its 10-year tenure, the Wild Game Dinner raised over $550,000, not including this year’s proceeds! Recent benefactors included the Boys and Girls Club, Navy Seal Museum, 100 Club, Deb 4 Vets, and Place of Hope.
Gratitude went out to the dozens of event sponsors with special recognition to A&G Pools, John Jacob Construction, St. Lucie Battery & Tire, Dyer Chevrolet, Lott Insurance, Everglades Farm & Equipment, Moonswiners, and Indian River Oxygen for sponsoring since the event’s inception!
Foundation President Philip Busch said, “We are proud of the success and growth of the Wild Game Dinner. We couldn’t do this without our generous sponsors, dedicated volunteers, and our local law enforcement. They are so much appreciated!”
For more information or to donate, please visit BuschFamilyFoundation.com