Rocky Mtn Elk Foundation banquet slated Feb. 28 Feb.2828FeSaturday
There are a lot of elk hunters in Eagle County and there are a lot of elk hunters who plan their expeditions here.
So it should come as no surprise that the local chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a robust organization.
Each year the Eagle Valley Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation serves up dinner with a side of good cause at its big game banquet. The event features food and camaraderie and the money raised helps the chapter achieve the organization’s goal of conserving and enhancing wildlife habitat.
“This year, the Eagle Valley Chapter will probably go over the $1 million mark for how much we have raised,” said Dennis Goodspeed, ticket chairman for the annual banquet.
The 2015 event is the chapter’s 22nd annual banquet. The Eagle Valley chapter was formed nine years after the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation was born.
Four hunters from Troy, Montana founded the organization in 1984, with the intent to ensure a future for North America’s grandest game animal. Their mission is to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and America’s hunting heritage.
Since 1984, the group has protected and enhanced more than 6.4 million acres of wildlife habitat. Locally, projects have included everything from the removal of old fencing to the eradication of noxious weeds.
“In Colorado, there have been over 600 conservation and reclamation projects funded by the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation,” said Goodspeed.
The foundation believes that hunting is conservation. Colorado hunters and anglers were among the first crusaders for conservation and the organization is an important conservation leader. There are more than 500 chapters across the country. The Eagle Valley Chapter numbers more than 500 members and reaches across the county from Yampa to the north and Leadville to the south.
Eating for elk
Chapters from across the country host big game banquets to raise money for elk country conservation projects. Goodspeed noted the local event has enjoyed great word-of-mouth reviews.
“Our state officials say the Eagle Valley Chapter event is the one they prefer to go to. We seem to put on a good time every year,” said Goodspeed.
At Saturday night’s event, there will be door prizes, raffles, a silent auction and a live auction to keep the adults entertained. But the banquet is also a family affair with BB gun shoots and bouncey castles for the kids.
“Chapters are making more of an effort to get more youth involved,” said Goodspeed.
Up for auction
The silent auction at the big game banquet is widely reputed to be one of the valley’s best. Other banquet activities include live music, kid’s only raffle, games and the popular bottomless beer mug raffle. Anyone who buys or renews an annual membership for only $35 at the banquet receives an annual subscription to of Bugle Magazine, a membership card, decal and a Browning membership knife. There are other memberships available, including sponsor and youth options.
Memberships and tickets for Saturday’s event can be purchased through the web site at http://www.rmef.org.
The graduates of Vail Mountain School’s class of 2019 will be off to far-flung destinations next fall, set to enter college in one of 16 different states or explore the world on a gap year. One grad is even attending college in Canada.