Whitetails Unlimited

Synergy is when two or more forces join to create a force that’s stronger than the two combined separately, said Dr. Marty Brunson, Chief Executive Office of Catch-A-Dream Foundation. “That’s the beauty of partnership.”

On August 6 at Rick’s Café in Starkville, Miss., you’re invited to witness the beauty of partnership and become a partner yourself at the fourth Whitetails Unlimited (WTU) Fundraiser that will benefit Catch-A-Dream Foundation and the local Starkville High School AIMS (Archery in Mississippi Schools) program. The event includes a dinner, auction, and prizes with a wide array of products such as outfitter packages, hunting and outdoor-related equipment, artwork, and collectibles only available at WTU events.

Founded in 1982, Whitetails Unlimited, a national nonprofit conservation organization, is the nation’s premier organization dedicated to the betterment of the white-tailed deer and its environment. For almost five years, Brian Kittrell has served as the first and only Mississippi Field Director for Whitetails Unlimited.

“There are different chapters throughout the state of Mississippi,” said Brian. These chapters choose the beneficiaries of their community’s WTU fundraising events with a 50/50 split of the net monies going to WTU and the beneficiary.

On a national level, Whitetails Unlimited is the largest contributor of Catch-A-Dream in the world, said Brian. “The sky is the limit for the chapter and Rick Welch likes to do his chapter event for Catch-A-Dream.”

Rick Welch, the owner of Rick’s Café, heads up the Starkville WTU chapter. He and Brian had been friends in Starkville. After Brian went to work with Whitetails Unlimited, Brian contacted Rick about doing a Starkville banquet. This became the first WTU banquet in the state.

“We picked Catch a Dream as our charity because the national headquarters is in Starkville,” said Rick. Catch-A-Dream is a national non-profit foundation that provides once-in-a-lifetime dream hunting and fishing trips to children suffering from life-threatening illnesses. “Both Brian and I know Dr. Brunson and we admire the work he does for the children. It was the perfect match.”

“We have a big focus on raising money for Catch-A-Dream and Archery in Schools programs,” said Brian. “The money raised that night goes directly back into their community.”

Archery has become the largest growing sport in the United States. Anyone can do it, explained Brian, from small kids to big kids to the young and the not-so-young.

“It’s already proven to help kids stay in school,” said Brian. “Some kids can’t play football or baseball, but they can do archery. We like to give back to the Archery in Schools programs, including those in Starkville.”

Archery instills confidence, especially for children who may not be the fastest or the strongest kid. They fit into this team environment well. Plus, it gets them outdoors and into the community. Archery in the Schools is growing every year, and there are national grants that can buy start-up packages for schools to start the programs.

“Archery in the Schools is an amazing program,” said Dr. Brunson. “It teaches kids life skills and all those things we want them to learn while enjoying the sport of archery.”
Whitetails Unlimited is a national conservation organization that truly gets it, he added. “They understand not only their mission but the role of partnerships and other missions.” Partnerships are as important as the heart is to the body. “Without those partners, you can’t do your non-profit mission. These outside partners are vital to our survival and our continued success.”
This event will make a difference at the national and the local level, “and the ultimate goal is to double the proceeds from last year.”