Singer/song writer Bobby Pinson performs as part of “Writers in the Round” during the Quail Unlimited Celebrity Quail Hunt finale Saturday. (photo by Joe Bellacomofirstname.lastname@example.org)
ALBANY — The stars gathered by the dozens in the Albany Civic Center on Saturday night for the Quail Unlimited Celebrity Hunt’s Covey Finale, swapping hunting stories and enjoying performances by country music stars.
Quail Unlimited president Bill Bowles was sure the 26th annual celebrity hunt was more successful than ever before, and he had the numbers to back it up.
“By far we are ahead of the last two years. We estimated for our organization that we would raise between $200,000 and $300,000,” Bowles said. “It’s very difficult to gauge an event like this until the curtain drops and the weekend is over, and we are close to that. And I think we are within that spread.”
He wasn’t the only one enjoying the final night of festivities in the Civic Center.
Just before country music star Keith Anderson stepped onto the stage for his performance, he couldn’t help but tease soap opera star Scott Reeves for his misadventure earlier in the day.
The General Hospital star, who played Saturday night with his band Port Chuck, reluctantly told his story to The Albany Herald.
“I had just put two fresh shells in my gun after shooting and hitting a bird,” Reeves began, “and as I was reloading, the dogs flushed out more birds and I flipped around and went up, my shells fell out of my gun, my gun hit me in my elbow.”
Reeves was able to laugh about it later in the evening as he motioned to his cPRIME bracelet which is designed to boost balance, flexibility, strength and endurance.
“I am even wearing the bracelet, but it was my brain,” said Reeves, referring to the bracelets sold by cPRIME, which partnered with Quail Unlimited for the event. “My brain and the bracelet have been fighting all day. By the time I had gotten everything together and made sure my elbow was OK, the birds were gone. But it’s OK, because we found more birds and I killed more.”
Reeves said he bagged around a dozen birds Saturday alone, while Anderson, whose hit songs include “Pickin’ Wildflowers,” “I Still Miss You” and “Beer Run,” wasn’t able to go hunting at all during the week.
“I have no patience,” Anderson said. “I have (attention deficit disorder so) I can’t sit around and wait for deer hunting. I don’t like getting up early. I don’t like sitting in the cold. But they told me quail hunting isn’t like that. You get to walk and talk.
“So I’ve already talked to everybody, and they’ve already invited me to come back next year, so hopefully I can work out my schedule and be here a day earlier to hunt.”
Bowles said hunters getting to know each other during the event made for the most memorable stories.
“Some of the most special stories I have heard are people who have come from all over the country, literally from California, Texas, New Jersey, New York,” Bowles said. “They met each other for the first time, and they will have life-long friendships beyond this event. It’s something special, and it all originated right here in Albany.”
Day 3 wrapped up the event, which had the largest field of hunters, celebrities and sponsors in the 26 years it has been held in Southwest Georgia. Along with Anderson and Port Chuck, entertainers on Saturday were Bobby Pinson, Andy Griggs, Ashton Shepherd, Daryle Singletary and Eddy Raven.
There was also a final dinner Saturday evening, along with a final auction that featured artwork from James Parkeet Jr. and Michael Collins — two artists who have been commissioned to paint for the Queen of England later this year.
“I absolutely see myself coming back to this event,” Reeves said. “It’s been nothing but great, and Quail Unlimited has been so sweet and so accommodating and so hospitable. I have really been impressed with the whole operation.”