All total, the huge racks represented 15 different counties and accounted for more than 4,600 B&C inches of antler growth. It was by far the largest number of top-shelf East Texas bucks ever assembled under the same roof, and certainly one of the best examples of a team effort that I have ever been part of.
While the initial concept started here, a passel of folks had a huge hand in bringing it altogether and making it happen.
Among them were Tim Boatman, a local tire dealer who went out on a limb to sponsor the deal because of his love for the outdoors, and all the folks at The Daily Sentinel newspaper who worked diligently to promote it.
Also to credit is Micah Poteet, a Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wildlife biologist who offered some helpful input on building the display walls….. my bride, Jan, who cut lumber on a chop saw for hours….. my new friend, Anthony Doyle, who slung some paint and saw to it the finished products reached the expo in one piece….. and Downs, who lent his expertise when it came time to hang the army of stately heads for display.
Most of all, thanks goes out to all the hunters who accepted the invitation to bring their deer to the show and, more importantly, followed through on the commitment.
While a handful of the bucks were killed locally, most of them weren't. These folks had to travel, some farther than others.
Robert Taylor of Aubrey dragged his wife and four daughters more than 200 miles just so they could see his 254 4/8 inch Grayson County giant sitting side-by-side with the Downs Buck for the very first time.
Bobby Tuttle's melanistic buck didn't score near as high as Taylor's, but he commands some serious applause for getting it here. Tuttle, 66, is currently undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer. Getting his deer to the show meant renting a U-Haul trailer large enough to accommodate the full body mount, then figuring out a way make it road worthy enough to make the trip from Beckville and back.