November 28, 2007 Edition

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Outdoor Channel to spotlight
area's great duck hunting

The Outdoor Channel was in Lawrence County last week to film this group of duck hunters for a segment about the NEA Duck Classic. Walnut Ridge's Charles Snapp (far right) of HammerTime Guide Service served as their host. Unloading their haul from a morning duck hunt are (from left): Jim Boswell, Ronnie Norman, Steve Porchet, Dennis Noell, Tim Bradley and Snapp.
John Bland

The Outdoor Channel will soon help spread the word that Northeast Arkansas is a great place for waterfowl hunting. The cable channel was in Lawrence County on Monday of last week to video a segment for it's new 2008 program entitled "Tracks Across America."

Charles and Jackie Snapp of HammerTime Guide Service in Walnut Ridge served as hosts to the cable television channel for the video shoot. The segment will focus on the NEA Duck Classic, which has become the largest single charitable fund-raiser in Northeast Arkansas, according to its organizers.

For the video shoot, Charles Snapp took several promoters of the NEA Duck Classic on a morning hunt. The group included:

  • Jim Boswell, CEO of the NEA Clinic in Jonesboro;

  • Steve Porchet of Clear Shot Productions, who was videoing for the Outdoor Channel;

  • Dennis Noell of DNW Outdoors, the leading sponsor of the event;

  • Ronnie Norman, chairman of the NEA Duck Classic; and

  • Tim Bradley of Weiner, exhibition shooter for Team Benelli USA, a leading maker of firearms.

"Tracks Across America" will share with viewers the outdoor assets of a particular region. "It will talk about the abundance of waterfowl in Northeast Arkansas," Snapp said.

"What we're trying to promote is the community. We want to let people know what this area has to offer," said Porchet, who is associated with the Outdoor Channel. "What that's going to do is help boost the economy of Northeast Arkansas," he added.

"It's about the whole region in general," Snapp said.

The Outdoor Channel segment will promote the area with the focus being the NEA Duck Classic, which benefits the NEA Clinic Charitable Foundation based in Jonesboro. The Fifth Annual NEA Duck Classic will be held this week.

The event kicks off with a banquet at the Arkansas State University armory in Jonesboro on Thursday night and the hunt will be held Friday morning.

The organizers said they expect close to 900 landowners and hunters to attend the banquet on Thursday night. There are 50 teams competing in the tournament.

Landowners all over Northeast Arkansas, including Lawrence County, have donated use of their land for the hunt. They will serve as hosts for the hunt and at the banquet will be randomly assigned with a team of hunters.

The tournament is an exercise in skill and patience, said Ronnie Norman, the tournament chairman. Each hunter gets one box of shells, and the team receives another box to share. The hunt's scoring system is designed to promote conservation; for example, more points are given for drakes.

After the hunt, lunch will be served to the hunters and prizes awarded.

Over the past four years, the NEA Duck Classic has raised a total of $500,000, said Jim Boswell. The event raised $18,000 in its first year, and in 2006 raised $200,000.

"Money raised is 100 percent put back in the community," said Norman. Doctors from the NEA Clinic in Jonesboro fund any expenses incurred from the NEA Duck Classic. The event and foundation has a 501-C3 designation, so donations are tax deductible.

Money raised from the hunt helps children and adults in need in the Northeast Arkansas area. The three major areas where the money is used are:

  • Prescription support.

  • Hope Circle, which provides supportive care for people dealing with catastrophic diseases.

  • Center for Healthy Children, which helps fight childhood obesity through teaching good nutrition, exercise and healthy cooking.

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