Most people associate the Lions Club’s Big Buck Contest as a one-day event that takes place on the opening day of deer season. In reality, the Big Buck Contest is an ongoing project that plays out throughout the entire year. Funds raised during the contest are used all year to support a number of charities, both local and outside of Coffee County.
This year’s contest, the 19th annual event, takes place on Saturday, Oct. 20, at the Coffee High School gym. The event will offer multiple grand prizes and hundreds more including 100 guns, tree stands, flat-screen televisions, and tablets valued at over $100,000.
Food vendors and a family fun carnival will open at 1 p.m.
The contest is open to all hunters and non-hunters. All tickets will be $30 and an evening meal is included. Dinner will be served beginning at 7 p.m.
For hunters participating in the Big Buck Contest, tickets must be purchased prior to harvesting a deer. The ticket owner must be the harvester of any deer entered. This year's contest will once again include archery and primitive weapons season along with rifle season on opening day.
First place awards for the archery, muzzleloader, firearm, and youth (under age 16) divisions will be $500 and second place awards will be $250. In the heaviest doe division, the first place winner will receive $250 and the second place winner will receive $100.
All deer must be presented according to DNR regulations or the deer will be disqualified from the contest. Deer antlers will be scored using Boone and Crockett gross scoring system.
Deer harvested during archery and muzzleloader season must be checked in at Merritt's Deer Processing located at 2616 Yellow Brick Road in Douglas. Checked deer must have head attached to body. Doe category is for archery and muzzleloader season only. Does will be weighed on field-dressed basis.
On the day of the contest, all bucks and/or antlers should be brought to the Coffee High School gym and presented to contest checkers to be scored. Check-in will begin at 10 a.m. and end at 8:30 p.m.
All state and federal laws and regulations must be met if you are a winner of any gun or any state and/or federally regulated prize. If an individual under 18 years of age wins a state and/or federally regulated prize (such as a gun) a parent or guardian must sign for and meet all state and/or federal laws and regulations.
So what exactly does the Big Buck Contest support? Here are a few of the worthy causes to which the contest contributes. The Lions provide eye exams and glasses to people who can’t afford them in Coffee and Atkinson counties. Over 300 people per year receive this service.
Education is a big part of what the Lions support. The club provides scholarships to students at Coffee High and CCA as well as sponsors the Star Student awards for Coffee and CCA each year.
The Lions send local kids and adults to the Camp for the Blind in Waycross each year and sponsors 4-H’ers who can’t afford to go to the various camps 4-H hosts.
The Lions Club also used Big Buck money to replace the carpet on the agricultural building’s show arena where young people compete in livestock competitions.
The Lions contributes to the Night to Shine, the event sponsored by Tim Tebow’s foundation which allows special needs children and adults to experience a red carpet event and attend a prom. This event takes place each year in Douglas at the Coffee Middle School gym.
The Lions Club is also heavily involved in contributing funds and helping raise awareness for cancer research. The club contributes to the Childhood Cancer Awareness Group of Coffee County’s annual fundraiser each September. Lions also provides money for Relay for Life in Coffee County and Passionately Pink Day and its assorted activities in October.
FATE – Facing Autism Together Every Day – is also a recipient of money the Big Buck Contest generates. Other worthy recipients are Wreaths Across America, Shop With a Cop, Back to School supplies, Called to Care, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and the LEO Club at CCA.
If you would like a ticket for this year’s event, contact a Lions Club member. Tickets are still available for this year’s contest.