Attend a party, help an elk at Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation banquet, Feb. 25 | VailDaily.com

Attend a party, help an elk at Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation banquet, Feb. 25

Since it was founded in 1984, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has grown to include more than 500 chapters. The organization is also responsible for the protection of more than 7 million acres of elk habitat.

EAGLE — For the past 24 years, local hunting enthusiasts have done their part to ensure elk herds are protected throughout western North America. And, they have had a lot of fun while doing it.

Saturday marks the annual banquet for Eagle Valley Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. The event offers more than dinner. There are raffles, auctions and prizes and a lot of camaraderie among elk enthusiasts.

Preservation success

Dennis Goodspeed heads up ticket sales for the annual fundraiser.

"It's a good time," he said. "We have had representatives from our state organization and even the national organization attend, and everyone says we have one of the best banquets around."

That is saying a lot. Since it was founded in 1984, the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has grown to include more than 500 chapters. The organization is also responsible for the protection of more than 7 million acres of elk habitat.

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Foundation chapters have achieved this preservation success through local fundraisers such as this weekend's event in Eagle. Attendees have the chance to win top-notch firearms, accessories, clothing, hunting and fishing trips and exclusive home furnishings. As the event invitation notes: "Best of all, you will have a great time while supporting a cause close to the heart of hunters, their families and the future of the great outdoors."

Silent auction goods

The event will be held at the Eagle River Center at the Eagle County Fairgrounds. Doors open at 4 p.m. for a social hour featuring drawings, raffles, the silent auction, beer, wine and drinks. Ceremonies start at 5:30 p.m., with dinner served at 6 p.m. After-dinner festivities include the live auction and live music by the Harris and Lee Band.

Here are the highlights for this year's event:

• Medallion drawing for a Browning X-Bolt Hell's Canyon Speed chambered in 7mm Rem Mag.

• Groundhog Day drawing. There will be a sale of 50 tickets for $25 each, and when all 50 are sold, a winner's name will be drawn. The winner picks a gun from a selection board of rifles, pistols and shotguns. Then 50 more tickets will be sold, a new winner picks a gun, and the sale can go on all night.

• Raffle books this year are $100, $300 and $500. Participants can buy raffle books when they order tickets, or buy them at the banquet.

• Reserved table sales of eight participants are offered. The price includes placement up front near the stage, four supporting memberships to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, eight meals, four $100 raffle books and four bonus tickets. The cost is $860 for a more than $1,000 total value. The bonus tickets are for a special drawing for reserved table holders only. The winner will pick a gun from the Groundhog Day selection board.

• Elk Foundation Elk Bucks will be available to simplify the evening. Elk Bucks allow participants to write one check or approve a single credit card charge.

• Kids age six and younger eat free. There will be a kids' raffle and entertainment.

• To purchase tickets or learn more about the fundraiser, call 970-926-0836. Tickets are limited.

If you go …

What: The Eagle Valley Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s annual banquet.

When: Saturday, Feb. 25; doors open at 4 p.m. for a social hour, ceremonies start at 5:30 p.m., and dinner is served at 6 p.m.

Where: The Eagle River Center at the Eagle County Fairgrounds, Eagle.

Cost: Reserved table for eight is $860, which includes placement up front near the stage, four supporting memberships to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, eight meals, four $100 raffle books and four bonus tickets.

More information: The event will include raffles, live and silent auctions and music from the Harris and Lee Band. Call 970-926-0836.