LINCOLN — Donald Trump Jr., the president’s older son, knows something about the slings and arrows of politics.
But Friday night, Trump slipped in and out of the Omaha area to talk about another kind of arrows — those used in bowhunting.
Trump, who is an avid bow-and-arrow hunter, was the keynote speaker Friday night at the biennial national convention of the Pope and Young Club, a 7,000-member organization dedicated to bowhunting and big game conservation.
His address, according to those who attended, focused on bowhunting and how it’s important for hunters to take their kids into the outdoors — and not on hunting up votes for his father’s re-election.
“This had nothing to do with politics. It had everything to do with conservation and the protection of our bowhunting heritage,” said Rick Mowery, communications and marketing director for the Pope and Young Club.
About 1,000 people attended the $95-a-plate Friday night banquet at the La Vista Convention Center, including Gov. Pete Ricketts, a Republican who enjoys hunting. But outside hunting circles, there was no publicity that the president’s son, as well as a Secret Service entourage, was in town.
Mowery said Trump’s visit wasn’t a secret among bowhunters, but because the club doesn’t have a big advertising budget, it wasn’t widely known beyond that. The governor, for instance, didn’t include the event on his schedule of public events released to the media.
Trump, a life member of the bowhunters’ club, arrived on Friday afternoon and strolled through the convention, which featured exhibits and booths from hunting outfitters and suppliers. After the banquet, he stayed up after midnight to discuss hunting with some board members of the bowhunting club.
“He’s super nice guy. He doesn’t want to be treated any different than anyone else. He just wants to be treated like a fellow hunter,” said Ricky Krueger of Fremont, the second vice president of the organization.
Krueger said he heard grumbling from a handful of members about having Trump as the keynote speaker, but they were politically based complaints, and his visit “wasn’t meant to be” political.
He added that Trump was the highest-profile keynote speaker for the Pope and Young group ever, and that he appeared as a favor to a hunting buddy.