ENID, Okla. — More than 60 guests "from around the United States and beyond" are expected this year for the 53rd annual Grand National Quail Hunt, running from Nov. 11 through Nov. 14.

The hunt, established in 1967 by Grand National Quail Club, invites celebrities, business leaders and others to three days of sporting in an 80-mile radius around Enid. The event was started to foster business relationships and showcase Northwest Oklahoma.

"It strengthens a lot of the current business that we have here," former club president Jason Turnbow said. "I know that companies like Hanor and Groendyke Transport, they have customers that come and do the hunt. I've also seen them develop relationships and business because of the hunt."

It takes hundreds to put the event together, and 150 local club members will host the guests for the 2019 season.

A few names on this year's guest are:

• Country musician Aaron Tippin, performer of four no.1 Billboard country hits, "Kiss This," "That's As Close As I'll Get To Loving You," "You've Got To Stand For Something" and "People Like Us."

• Grammy and Golden Globe-nominated entertainer Frank Stallone, younger brother of Sylvester Stallone, is returning for another hunt.

• Two-time Super Bowl champion and NFL Hall of Famer Dave Butz. Butz has been a part of the Enid tradition for 25 years, according to Grand National Quail Club.

The Quail Club is continuing into another year its partnership with the Warriors For Freedom Foundation, and, as such, some less famous but no less respected guests — selected by foundation founders Maj. Ed Pulido and Brett Dick — will join in the hunt.

Foundation president and founder, Dick is the son of Enid residents Mark and Kaye Dick, according to GNQC.

“This year’s hunt registration begins on Veterans Day, and we’re proud to continue our partnership with the Warriors for Freedom Foundation and bring in two service members from the organization,” said Mark Pettus, 2019 club president.

Warriors For Freedom Foundation, based in Oklahoma City, is "dedicated to improving mental, physical and holistic wellness for our nation's active military, veterans and their families," the organization's website said. Part of how the foundation achieves this is by helping members get involved in activities and events in their communities or by creating and hosting such events itself.

The club helps foot the bill for participating veterans and service members, Turnbow said. "We pay for their entire trip here, room and board, hunting, travel, everything like that."

Hunters can expect to see a younger than usual batch of birds out in the field this year, according to Dwayne Elmore, Oklahoma State University professor of natural resource ecology and management.

Addressing a group of Grand National Quail Hunt ranchers, Elmore explained that a rainy spring throughout the central region of Oklahoma "altered nesting season substantially," meaning there will be fewer quail in the area, according to the club.

"However, quail can hatch as late as August in Oklahoma, so we're likely to see younger birds in the early part of the 2019-2020 season, which begins Saturday, Nov. 9, and runs through Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020," according to the club.

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Willetts is education and city reporter for the Enid News & Eagle.
Have a question about this story? Do you see something we missed? Do you have a story idea for Mitchell? Send an email to mwilletts@enidnews.com.

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