As a proud sponsor of Kevin’s annual Southern Game Fair, Jon Kohler Associates (JKA) is excited to once again partner with this fellow champion of the outdoor lifestyle we both embrace so boldly. Now entering its seventh year, this fall’s Game Fair has expanded and grown to include an extra day of events, further highlighting all the things we love about life in the Red Hills Region.
Kevin’s Southern Game Fair began as a way to not only celebrate the opening of quail season but with the mission of supporting Tall Timbers and the important research and conservation work they engage in. As Brian Wiebler, Communications Director for Tall Timbers shares, “Kevin’s Southern Game Fair has become a great fall tradition in the Red Hills and is an excellent way for visitors to experience some of the upland lifestyle that Kevin’s curates so well. Tall Timbers is very thankful for the funds raised at the Game Fair; these contributions support our Game Bird Program and its dedication to long-term research on the management and recovery of bobwhite quail. Upland bird hunting is the primary driver of these substantial research and conservation actions that bring bobwhites back.” Kevin Kelly goes on to add, “Last year, the event raised $70,000 for Tall Timbers Research Station and to date has raised $400,000 to preserve the Bobwhite quail woods.” Those numbers are substantial.
Beyond the philanthropic aspect of the event, the annual Game Fair is just a really darned good time.
Setting the tone for the weekend is the JKA-sponsored Quail Bash on Thursday evening. At the downtown Marriott Courtyard, guests gather around tables teeming with fresh oysters and local game dishes. Old friends meet new ones as they share a glass (or two) of great bourbon. There is a palpable sense of excitement in the air that only comes from being with others who share your same values and enthusiasm for what’s to come. No one wants the night to end but that’s where things get really exciting, with a Charlie Whitney-led auction of some very prized items. In years past, guests have taken home covetable hunting gear, Argentinian expeditions, Holland & Holland Gun Room experiences and one-of-a-kind works of art.
The need for the expanded Game Fair schedule is a testament to how much this outdoor lifestyle resonates with visitors outside our region. Kathleen Kelly says, “We expanded it out to give people more time to enjoy themselves. We have guests come from across the country to experience what we have here. They dine together, shoot together and friendships are formed. It is really special.”
On Friday, ticketed guests arrive at the esteemed Chinquapin Plantation for the full Game Fair experience. This property – once home to Standard Oil Company heir, John F. “Jack” Archbold – is a significant one for so many reasons. Rolling hills and river bluffs, pine savannah hills and heritage live oaks all complement the historic A.S. Bell-designed home. For many, this may be the only opportunity they’ll have to experience a place this special. However, this particular property happens to be one Jon is quite familiar with, as he has had the distinct pleasure of representing Chinquapin not once, but twice. Guests can tour the estate, enjoy a gracious catered lunch afield, take in sporting dog demonstrations and visit with vendors.
This year, Friday’s guests will also have the opportunity to add on two off-site activities: a gun-safety and shooting instruction experience at Ranges at Oakfield or an exclusive tour of nearby Longpine Plantation – a sporting plantation that Jon sold in 2014 – and one of the region’s most prominent and ecologically valuable properties in the Red Hills. Saturday events include shooting demonstrations at Ranges of Oakfield with firearms from such venerable makers as Holland & Holland, Benelli, Caesar Guerini and of course, Kevin’s own line of shotguns.
This annual Game Fair is an invaluable way to expose a greater number of people to the coveted outdoor lifestyle we prize. As Kathleen Kelly notes, “One of the amazing aspects of the Game Fair is the number of people who attend from outside the region, a true testament to how special The Red Hills are and the culture we have cultivated here.” Jon Kohler Associates is proud to be a valuable part of this weekend.