— By Ben Conley, The Dominion Post
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — It’s hard to find a good, used muzzleloader.
Arizona Diamondbacks managing general partner Ken Kendrick, a West Virginia University alum, found one Feb. 1, when he dropped $125,000 to purchase the first Marvin Wotring Mountaineer muzzleloader during the Bob Huggins Fish Fry held at Mylan Park.
Proceeds from the muzzleloader’s sale will benefit the Holy Pursuits Dream Foundation, a nonprofit that provides hunting and fishing adventures to kids battling life-threatening illnesses.
Wotring, who died in December, built that first model for the Mountaineer mascot in 1978, and built every Mountaineer muzzleloader since. Before his death, he gave the original gun to his friend Kevin Turner, co-founder of the Holy Pursuits Dream Foundation.
Turner said he didn’t know how much the gun would sell for and was shocked when the gavel finally fell.
“Absolutely not. I did not. I knew it was and is a very valuable piece of Mountaineer sports history and I knew there would be great interest in it, but I did not expect that,” Turner said. “This is going to be such an incredible blessing to our Dream Foundation.”
Jared Shinn, of Joe R. Pyle Auction Services, said they too were surprised by the selling price.
“We had absolutely no idea the find bid would fall in that price range,” Shinn said, explaining it’s hard to predict a number for unique items like the muzzleloader. “We really didn’t have a feel for what the final bid would be. No one believed it would exceed $100,000.”
Turner said he anticipates the revenue generated by the sale of the gun will help fund his growing foundation for the next year or more.
“We’re growing by leaps and bounds with the number of kids applying for hunting and fishing trips with us. It would be difficult to keep up financially with all the trips through our fundraisers or private donations,” Turner said. “We’re just very thankful that Mr. Huggins let us auction it off during his event.”