McAlester boosters adjust amid national outcry

Posted at 9:30 PM, Jun 27, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-28 22:42:57-04

The McAlester Buffaloes Quarterback Club holds an annual Rifle Raffle to benefit the high school's football team.

This year, instead of a hunting rifle, the prize is an AR-15. This has caused some parents to refuse to sell the tickets. Now, the club is canceling the fundraiser all together.

The club says the fundraiser was approved by the board of directors in May. They say it was expected to bring in around $8,000. But some parents, are up in arms, after realizing what the item was.

The church bells ring. It's an offseason substitute for an opening whistle. High school football reigns in Buffalo country, that's in McAlester, about 90 miles south of Tulsa.

"It's huge, it's like Friday Night Lights," Buffalo Quarterback Club President Ross Eaton said.

It takes a lot of money to field a football team in the small town of McAlester, OK.

"When you're talking about a football helmet that is $300 or $400, you're talking about thousands of dollars per player," Eaton said.

But one parent says this years fundraising method, auctioning off an AR 15, isn't something she believes in.

"I see that weapon as something that should not just be given away to somebody as long as they're 18 and can pay $10," Stacy Williams said.

Williams says she knew about the annual raffle and was comfortable with it last year, when a 30-30 was auctioned off. She says that is a traditional hunting rifle. But she and others became concerned when they saw this year's weapon. It is similar in appearance to weapons used in mass shootings.

"I would not allow my son to sell that ticket," says Williams. "And I wouldn't be selling that ticket."

The club says it never anticipated a problem, until the recent tragedy in Orlando and a growing national outcry against assault-style weapons.

"We certainly didn't mean to offend anyone with this," says Eaton. "And it's just maybe a case of being a a little bit overzealous and we will certainly cancel this."

"I love the program, I just think that this was a misstep," Williams said.

A mother, now at ease. A booster club, now awakened.