Pro athlete hosts charity hog hunt, auction at an NRAO-approved Texas destination
Willie Bloomquist is a true utility man, having played every position but pitcher and catcher during the 12 years in the major leagues. But this offseason, the current free agent isn’t in the infield or the outfield – he’s afield focusing on his position as a philanthropist and raising money to benefit critically ill children.
Bloomquist recently met up with 10 NRA members from around the country at one of NRA Outdoors’ top Texas destinations for a hog hunt and auction, the first charity hunting event to benefit the Abe and Max Fund, a children’s charity founded by the versatile ballplayer and his wife, Lisa. The hunt and auction, made possible through a partnership with NRA Outdoors and with the support of numerous companies in the outdoor industry, raised $11,000 during the two-day event.
The Abe and Max Fund raises money to buy electronics for patients in the Phoenix Children’s Hospital with the goal of giving those young patients who are often admitted to the facility for weeks at a time something that entertains and distracts them while they are receiving treatment. The Texas hog hunt featured hunters in attendance taking numerous hogs as well as an auction that included sports memorabilia, on-field experiences and VIP ticket packages to Arizona Diamondbacks home games and a Weatherby Hog Reaper rifle topped with a Leupold scope, which Bloomquist used earlier in the hunt to take a giant, 300-pound Texas wild hog.
Bloomquist said that the moneys raised by the auction alone were in excess of twice the retails values of the various items.
“The folks in the outdoor industry, the people who like to hunt and fish are my kind of people: good, down-to-earth folks,” Bloomquist said. “And they tend to be over-the-top generous when it comes to helping whenever there’s a need and this is just another example of that generosity.”
Bloomquist turned to NRA Outdoors – the same service available free of charge to NRA members – to locate an outfitter whose levels of service, professionalism, quality of hunting opportunities and facilities could accommodate such an event.
“Willie and I were introduced by a mutual friend in the outdoor industry who had utilized our services before and who knew we could help the Abe and Max Fund stage a fundraiser that would be different from the typical celebrity golf scramble,” said NRA Outdoors President Greg Ray. “We have a lot of experience helping corporate clients arrange hunts and fishing trips for large groups and we’re lucky to have a truly top-shelf hunting outfitter in Texas who has – among many things – a wealth of trophy-sized hogs. We felt it was a great match for the event and are pleased with the results and the feedback from those who attended.”
Though Bloomquist will spend much of the remaining fall stalking big game throughout the West as well as preparing to report to training camp early next year, he’s already eyeing ways to expand the Abe and Max Fund charity hunt for next year and beyond.
“I’m blessed to be able to make my living doing something I love and blessed to be able to use that as a platform to do other things I love, like helping others. And I love the outdoors, love hunting and fishing, and think it’s a great way to help the charity,” Bloomquist said. “My hat’s off to everybody who came. They all told me that they want to do it again next year, maybe even make it an annual deal. Hopefully we can grow it every year.”
NRA Outdoors is a service provided free of charge to NRA members that gives these outdoor enthusiasts and Second Amendment advocates access to hundreds of the finest hunting and fishing destinations around the world. NRA Outdoors carefully vets each outfitter to ensure that every operation is equipped to provide clients with the best chances for success while maintaining the highest levels of quality, service and professionalism as set forth by NRA Outdoors’ Approved Destinations Program.
In addition to taking the guesswork out of booking outdoor adventures, NRA Outdoors allows sportsmen and women to continue their support for Second Amendment rights as a portion of the cost of each trip booked goes directly to defend the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.
Logo courtesy NRA Outdoors