Door prizes totaling nearly $15,000, outdoor clinics, wild game and non-game refreshments, and a special Saturday evening session featuring naturalist Jason Caldwell fill the bill for this year’s Sportsman’s Night Out at Hillsboro’s Bible Baptist Church.
Longtime pastor Dr. Dan Lamb said the door prizes include five all-expenses paid fishing trips to Canada worth a grand total of $4,000 alone, in addition to hunting gear, outdoor supplies, guns and more, with things of interest for everyone in the family.
“Everything is free,” Lamb said. “It’s all free to the community.”
The 22nd annual event, to be held at the church located on SR 124 just east of Hillsboro, was described by assistant pastor/worship leader Matt Burns as “an annual outreach ministry” and will be held throughout the day Saturday and into the early evening hours.
Burns said that 22 years ago some of the men of the church got together after realizing that there were others in the community who shared their love for the outdoors. They, in turn, decided to put together an outreach event that would be both educational in scope with an element of fun thrown in for good measure.
“They wanted something that would teach how to be a better hunter, fisherman or outdoorsman,” Burns said. “But we also wanted to giveaway some prizes that would be a blessing to someone’s life, so we started talking to some of the local businesses to see if they wanted to become involved, and it grew from there.”
Burns said that the first year of Sportsman’s Night Out drew more than 60 people, with the church now expecting between 1,000 to 1,500 people for this year’s event.
He said Troy Putnam, one of the members of the church, was really the one who spearheaded making the event what it is today, crediting him for combining his passion for the outdoors with a vision of making the occasion a blessing for the area.
“We look at this as something that a large majority of our community enjoys,” he said. “Look at the lakes we have close by, along with multiple public and private hunting areas, and so the appeal is so many people enjoy the outdoors, and they can come to an event that focuses on that and maybe win some great prizes at the same time.”
The full day of events gets underway with deer scoring by representatives of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., refreshments available from 2-5 p.m. with a suggested $3 donation, outdoor clinics from 2 to 5:30 p.m., a special Christian mini-concert by Wade Spencer from 5:15 to 6 p.m., ending with the evening session on “Birds of Prey” presented by Jason Caldwell.
Immediately following the evening session all of the prize giveaways will begin, Burns said, with the larger prizes being awarded first and the remaining door prizes afterward, with several large prizes being given away to the children who attend as well, in addition to an assortment of smaller items “so every child comes away with something.”
“This is all about being a blessing to the surrounding community,” he said. “We’ll talk about the difference that God has made in each of our lives, and the sacrifice of His Son to pay the price of our sins, and we’ll reflect on all of the gifts given away Saturday night, but especially we want to remember the greatest gift that God gave us, which was Jesus.”
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.