A SHORT HISTORY OF THE CLA/CLF FUNDRAISING AUCTION
In 2002, CLA leatherworker Ken Scott proposed holding a Live Fundraising Auction at the yearly CLA Show and Meeting. Seven selected artisans would make pouches from furnished hides, and they would be auctioned in 2003. That successful auction in 2003 started the long-lasting Contemporary Longrifle Foundation Fundraising Auctions which have continued till this day. The 2022 CLF Fundraising Auction marks our 19th year – with 17 auctions. (There were two years we didn’t have an auction)
There are many people to credit for the success of any program but undoubtedly, the bastion of our auctions is our creative CLA artists who generously step up and produce outstanding art of the Longrifle Culture. All items by our artists have been produced specifically for our auction, which says a lot about those artists and artisans who consistently support our organization with new works every year. Some even come back to create items year after year. More than 418 CLA members have made the items that have gone across the auction board to whet the appetites of CLA members, who have supported our auctions with their wallets, to the tune of over $350,000. That’s a bunch. And these funds raised by our auctions have supported our organization.
Behind every successful program is a team of dedicated individuals who work to bring it to fruition. And that is the CLF Auction Committee. These folks work behind the scenes year after year to the promote the auction and showcase our artists.
From to writing articles and artist bios, making hundreds of photos of all the exceptional art, coordinating all the art as it arrives, scheduling all the written material and getting to the publications on time, uploading all data to the CLF website and other websites and blogs – and then ultimately bringing it to the CLA Annual Show in August to be set up and successfully auctioned.
All this comes together through the efforts of the Auction Committee. Each year the program showcases our artist’s works in magazines, with postings on the CLF website as well social media outlets and other blogs. Our Longrifle Culture Publications MuzzleBlasts and Muzzleloader include articles about our auctions, giving all their readers a preview of what’s to come when they get to the show. The CLA’s own publication, American Tradition runs comprehensive illustrated articles dedicated to the auction so that CLA members get an intimate upfront introduction to the upcoming auction and the artists who have contributed to it.
The list is too long to thank all the people who have contributed their time and efforts for the successes through the years, but all successful campaigns require a dedicated group of individuals; and that we have.
This year’s CLF Fundraising Auction, which will be held in the afternoon on Friday (August 19) as part of the CLA 2022 Annual Show and Meeting in Lexington, promises to be yet another “showstopper”.
THE CLF AUCTION COMMITTEE MEMBERS
Through the years, the CLF Auction Committee has been made up of CLA members. The 2022 CLF Auction Committee is currently composed of 5 members who volunteer their time and efforts. Chaired by Paul Fennewald, the team oversees communication with the artists, receives the donated art, and processes it through all the steps from authoring articles by Joshua Shepherd and Heinz Ahlers, photography by David Wright, generating publicity in printed publications, and posting on the internet and social media by Katie Horn, and finally on the day of the auction – bringing it to our members and auctioning the outstanding items, by our professional auctioneer, Joe Mills.
Currently the committee is chaired by Paul Fennewald; past chairmen have been Guy Montfort, Tim Albert, Heinz Ahlers and David Wright.
Jay Blain has been involved in museums, education and living history since he was 14 years old. Since starting as a summer camp counselor for an early American summer day camp near his hometown in Massachusetts, he has gone on to work as docent, demonstrator, archivist, and grant writer. Outside of work, he loves to participate in living history demonstrations from the 17th, 18th, 19th and early 20th century. Jay is an avid hunter, fisherman and muzzleloader shooter, he still resides in Southern New England with his family and their two dogs.
Like many CLA members, Joshua Shepherd’s interest in muzzleloaders began during his teenage years as a natural outgrowth of his interest in history.
A sculptor by profession, he’s created over two dozen public monuments commemorating the soldiers, warriors, and statesmen that have made America. A part-time writer, his articles have appeared in a number of historical publications including Military History Quarterly, Military Heritage, Muzzleloader, Journal of the American Revolution, and Civil War Quarterly.
He’s been a member of the CLA since 2013 and has assisted with promotion of the Fundraising Auction since then. “The artists that donate to the auction,” Shepherd says, “are a generous group of skilled craftsmen that are keeping traditional frontier arts alive and well. They have been vital to supporting the CLA and deserve a good measure of appreciation.”
Heinz Ahlers have been shooting muzzleloaders since 1965 and flintlock rifles since 1968. He joined the CLA around 2012. Heinz first joined the NMLRA in 1965 and has been in the American Mountain Men over 48 years.
Heinz is a pretty fair Hammer mechanic and has made most everything you need for a flintlock rifle except the barrel. He also makes the occasional knife and sheath; Heinz perfected that art under Joe Seabolt and Frank House and survived. Heinz is also a sculptor does some lost wax casting in bronze and aluminum
Heinz states, “I have been involved with the CLF Fundraising auction since 2013 and have been a donor many times. I believe the CLF Annual Fundraising Auction is one of the CLA’s best activities, showcasing both established artists and new artists in multiple media formats to a wide audience. The Fundraising Auction publicizes the artists, their work, and the longrifle culture represented by our association.”
H. DAVID WRIGHT
Born in Rosine, Kentucky in 1942, David Wright has been a professional artist all his adult life. Professionally trained as an artist with study in Europe, Wright has been painting for more than 60 years. His paintings focus mainly on the American Frontier and the Civil War with the explorers, the hunters, trappers, settlers, soldiers, and Indians as the subjects of his work. His love for American history guided him into the selected subjects for his works.
He has been shooting muzzleloading firearms since he bought his first original flintlock in 1961, which he hunted with for years. He is a charter member of the CLA and has served on the CLF Auction Committee since its inception in 2003, primarily focusing in providing the photography of the artists’ contributions. He also serves on the CLF board of directors.
Like all CLA members, his interests hones in on the firearms, accoutrements and all the arts of the Longrifle Culture. He has made long guns and powder horns and has contributed several times to the CLF Fundraising auctions through the years.
Wright says, “Though the end result of the auction is to raise money for the continuing advancement of the CLA, my main goal is to promote the artists who have so generously made and contributed their outstanding art through the years. We have an unbelievable group of artists who continuously step froward and contribute their talent and time to help promote and raise funds for the CLA. Couldn’t ask for more.”
He is a life member of the NRA, NMLRA and is also a member of the American Mountain Men.
Paul Fennewald has been involved as a member of the Contemporary Longrifle Association (CLA) for a number of years and became involved in the Fundraising Auction in 2019. For several of the past CLF Auctions, he has also collaborated with his son, Matthew, and other CLA artists to create unique donations for the Auction.
Paul also has hosted for the past three (3) years a “New & Aspiring Artists” table at the CLA Annual show, to promote and recognize new artists to the longrifle era art forms and introduce them to the CLA network. While most of the participants to that program are newcomers to the CLA, the experience has “set the hook” and most continue to be involved in the CLA.
Becoming interested in blackpowder shooting in his teens, Paul has dabbled in the various longrifle era arts, to include gunbuilding, blacksmithing and bladesmithing, and creating powder horns and hunting bags. In his own words, he is a “jack of all trades – master of none”.
Like everyone else on the Auction Committee, he feels it an honor to promote CLA artists and their art, through the CLF Auction.
Per Paul, “I am especially appreciative to be working with the other talented members of the Committee, as well as the CLA and CLF leadership, and feel the CLF auction not only raises much needed funding for CLF and CLA programs, but also builds a camaraderie among members. It encourages participants to present their best work for the Auction, for all to see, and a lucky few to purchase.”
Joe Mills was fortunate to be born into a family who immersed themselves into the Longrifle Culture in the late 1960’s. By the age of 13, he had his own boy’s rifle (made by H. House), had built his first hunting pouch, and with the assistance of his father, Randall, he had forged a hunting knife. Throughout the last 50 years, he has developed his signature style of homespun hunting pouches, which in part was driven by examining and restoring many original pieces. His interest in flintlock hunting and collecting contemporary pieces still runs deep in his veins.
As a Professional Auctioneer for over 40 years, the CLF Fundraising Auction was a natural fit for Joe. Starting with the first “7 Hides Hunting Pouch Auction,” Joe could see the fruits of the fundraising auction as an effective way to showcase the artist as well as support the mission of the CLA.
Mills says, “The CLA has done more for the advancement of talent in the Longrifle Culture than any other venue. The quality of the art produced by its members in the last 25 years has greatly advanced, most likely due to the “greyhairs” who were willing to share their knowledge with other members. Another major factor has been the publications and the quality of the photography in them which have been published by the CLA.”
Joe Mills has lived, worked, and raised his family in Owensboro, Kentucky. He also enjoys spending quality time with his family and friends at his log cabin in Ohio County, Kentucky. Joe previously served on the CLA Board and has been the CLF Auctioneer for every year since the auction format was adopted.
Katie has been with the CLA/CLF for five years now. She started off as a part-time employee working just around 24 hours a week. Katie is now our full-time, 40 hours a week, CLA/CLF Office Manager. Katie helps with the day-to-day responsibilities of the office, monitors and runs the organization’s social media and CLA/CLF website maintenance, maintains membership dues, gathers table reservations for the CLA Annual Show, maintains the CLA Store, along with many other responsibilities. Besides being office manager, Katie serves as co-chair of the CLA Membership Committee, she is a member on the CLA Public Relations Committee, helps run the CLA Annual Silent Auction and she is co-publisher of the CLA Gazette Newsletter.
Katie states, “When I first started here, I thought it would be a temporary job, but as the days and months went by, I found more interest in this organization and couldn’t picture myself anywhere else. I love the members that hold the organization together and all their longrifle culture artwork that it entails. The CLF Fundraising Auction is one of my highlights of the show that I look forward to every year. You see everybody come together whether it means donating a piece of their artwork or bidding on a piece of artwork to help fund a wonderful organization. I overly enjoy and love my job with this wonderful organization.”
CONTRIBUTING SUPPORT BY THE LONGRIFLE CULTURE PUBLICATIONS AND SOCIAL MEDIA
One of the key aspects of the Contemporary Longrifle Foundation (CLF) Fundraising Auction, which is a part of our annual Contemporary Longrifle Association (CLA) show, is to both promote the contemporary longrifle era art as well as the artists creating it. Promoting the art is focused on ensuring it brings a fair price at the auction to help raise much needed funding for CLF and CLA programs. But the higher calling of promoting the artists is a much broader endeavor, and one that goes to the core of what being a CLA member is about.
To address the critical aspect of promoting our auction and our artists, we reach out to those media, who directly engage our targeted audience, who have expressed an interest and also support our programs.
Our thanks for the continued support of the printed media:
JASON GATLIFF, publisher of Muzzleloader
DAVE EHRIG, editor, and AMBER MAY, Longhunter Program Director at the National Muzzleloading Rifle Association, which publishes Muzzle Blasts.
Our own publication, American Tradition, for which JASON GATLIFF is the editor.
We also include FRANK JARDIM, who writes for several shooting sports and history focused publications such as American Shooting Journal and Frontier Times Magazine.
Those who support us through the internet social media and blogs are:
JAN RISER: http://contemporarymakers.blogspot.com/
DENNIS GLAZENER: https://www.americanlongrifles.com/
ETHAN YAZEL: https://www.ilovemuzzleloading.com
Additionally, we post on our own social media:
CLA Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/contemporarylongrifleassociation/
CLA Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/236476743704892/
Thanks to all these folks and any others we have overlooked mentioning, who continue to support our organization and our program through the years.