Tim Besancenez is one of the newest members of the Friends of NRA Field Staff team, but he’s not new to this line of work. A veteran fundraiser, the Southern Missouri Field Representative knows what it takes to run a successful event. He got right to work on his vision for a unique and exclusive Friends of NRA event—one held at the Busch Family Estate at Grants Farms. The inaugural St. Louis Friends of NRA banquet held last year was a big hit, and the Busch Family Estate's rich with beautiful land, wildlife, and rich history proved to be the perfect setting.
This exclusive, upscale event welcomed 225 attendees to the estate, including members of the Busch family who showed their support of the Friends of NRA program. With ticket prices averaging around $150 per person and more than $43,000 raised overall, this was the highest-netting first-year banquet for 2018!
While beautiful views of the mansion, amazing landscape and nearby assortment of animals set the scene for a top-notch event, tours of the mansion were also available for an extra special visit to the estate. Plus, the massive buffet served the most impressive spread the guests could wish for, and nobody went away hungry.
“This invitation-only event goes outside of our standard Friends of NRA events with not only an exclusive venue, but also with unique auction items, hunts and trips,” said Besancenez.“It is exciting to attend because people get to experience the Anheuser-Busch Estate, and not many people can say they’ve done that.”
Also making an appearance was one of the iconic Budweiser Clydesdales, which attendees were able to pet and take pictures with. If the venue wasn’t already beautiful enough, the estate also serves as an animal reserve home to a plethora of wild animals. With animals seeming to be a large part of the event, it didn't come as too much of a surprising when a beautiful silver lab puppy was introduced as part of the live auction. Bred for hunting, the little pup was the star of the show. For well over $2,000 it was welcomed into a loving home.
Along with the silver lab, the live and silent auctions included some rare and exciting hunts. A Big Game hunt in New Mexico, a Florida Alligator hunt, a Colorado Elk hunt and an Alabama Hog Control hunt for two were among the most popular. Items such as Diamond Box Seat tickets for a St. Louis Cardinals game, a vacation package in the Caribbean or Mexico, and a hog roast for up to 50 people also enticed the crowd. Needless to say, this banquet and auction had something for everyone!
Volunteers are the backbone of all Friends of NRA events across the country, and Tim was surrounded by 24 volunteers from start to finish to help make this event happen. Additionally, Tim’s deep connections with the Busch family made it possible to secure this amazing venue. For the Busch family, which has a history of supporting the Second Amendment and conservation efforts, this was a natural fit. “I spoke with the Busch family a few weeks after the event, and they couldn’t wait to start planning the 2019 event,” explained Tim. “They are very excited, and our plans are already in motion.”
If you are lucky enough to attend the St. Louis Friends of NRA event at the Busch Family Estate, you're sure to remember the experience for a long time. With great attendance, a beautiful property, and Tim with his amazing team of volunteers, this event is sure to continue to grow bigger and better each year.