DALLAS, Texas, March 11, 2019 – At the 13th Annual Park Cities Quail Coalition Dinner & Auction on March 7, PCQC awarded its 2019 “T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award” to the legendary conservationist and sportsman, Johnny Morris, founder of Bass Pro Shops, in front of a sold-out crowd of 1,100 sportsmen at the Frontiers of Flight Museum. Mr. Morris was presented a specially designed sculpture of three flushing bobwhite quail created by award-winning sculptor Walter Matia. The T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award is presented annually to a sportsman or woman distinguished by a life of adventure, who demonstrates love of the outdoors, respect for natural resources, and a spirit of generosity that makes it possible for future generations to enjoy the sporting life. Past recipients have included Ted Turner, Tom Brokaw and Ray Murski. According to Mr. Pickens, “Nobody has made hunting, fishing and the great outdoors more accessible, fun and exciting to the American public than Johnny Morris. He is a passionate sportsman, charismatic leader and an all-around great guy.” Johnny was on hand to accept the award and in his touching acceptance speech he reminisced about his experience growing up with a love and appreciation for the outdoors passed on to him from his parents, John A. and Jenny Morris, who took him hunting and fishing.
Mr. Morris also thrilled the audience by announcing a major pledge in honor of his mom and dad of $100,000 a year for the next 10 years to support the Park Cities Quail Coalition from everyone at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s. In his remarks, Johnny also recognized Texas as, “a world-class leader not afraid to break out of the box to do what is right for conservation and a great example for other states to follow.” Since 1972, Johnny has earned a reputation as one of the most visionary and influential retailers of the last 50 years by pioneering the concept of destination retail and creating one of the most beloved and well-recognized brands in North America. Advocating for conservation is a personal passion for Johnny, who recognizes the need for citizens to take a strong position in the careful management and use of our natural resources. Today, he is one of the country’s leaders working to ensure natural habitats, wildlife and the outdoors remain healthy and abundant for future generations to enjoy, having established a significant personal legacy that spans national initiatives and extensive partnerships supporting conservation organizations. Earlier this year, he became only the 58th conservationist to receive The Audubon Medal in the 114-year history of The National Audubon Society. Following the award presentation, PCQC held their Live Auction, which featured several hunts, excursions, and experiences. Notably, a rare opportunity for four anglers to fish with Johnny Morris and Orvis owner Leigh Perkins sold for $125,000. A cruise for 4 couples on Carl and Gigi Allen’s armada of ships in the Bahamas was auctioned off for $400,000.
“I am deeply honored to receive this award, named after T. Boone Pickens, a grand gentleman and truly inspiring conservationist. Receiving this honor stirs fond memories of my mom and dad and their genuine love of the sport of quail hunting, a great American tradition. It is with gratitude to them, and on their behalf, that I humbly accept this remarkable award.”
Additionally, a hunting trip with four wounded veterans at Hawks Double Mountain Ranch sold for $200,000. The winning bidder will be accompanied by, Silver Star Recipient John Wayne Walding, and Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient, Mike Thornton.
100 percent of the proceeds from this auction item will be donated to organizations specializing in rehabilitating veterans through involving them in outdoor hunting and fishing activities. “The donated items and the impressive prices paid for them is a testimony to the passion people have for our cause and for our veterans.” said Dinner Chair Wyatt Abernethy. “Conservation’s Greatest Night” set a new attendance and fundraising record with the net proceeds of $1,300,000 plus the extraordinary $1 million gift from Bass Pro Shops & Cabela’s. This will bring the organization’s 13-year total donations to over $10,000,000. According to Abernethy “We would like to thank Mr. Pickens, Mr. Morris, our volunteer committee, as well as our donors and sponsors for making this an amazing night for quail research and education.
“Among the crowd of quail supporters: T. Boone Pickens, Lana and Rick Snipes, Gigi and Carl Allen, Kent Rathbun, Jerry and Steven Jones, Janice and Bob Carter, Mandy Murski, Emilie Sasser, A.V. Jones Jr, NASCAR legend Richard Childress and country music star Chris Janson. Park Cities Quail Coalition was founded in 2006 when a group of Dallas quail hunters concerned about quail decline formed the nonprofit organization to preserve, restore and maintain upland game, educate youth, and improve hunting opportunities for area sportsmen. PCQC’s efforts are centered on this one night of fundraising each March, which features a seated dinner, raffle, silent, and live auction and culminates in the presentation of the T. Boone Pickens Lifetime Sportsman Award. Dubbed by sporting industry writers as ‘Conservation’s Greatest Night,’ over the past 13 years, the Park Cities Quail Coalition Dinner and Auction has resulted in over $8.7 million in direct donations to scientific research and educational efforts.