This is a four-part feature about the entertainment involved with attending a wildlife banquet.
My wife, Garnet, and I attend several banquets every year to support local and national birds and animals.
Locally we have several Ducks Unlimited chapters and each one has a banquet. While we donít attend every banquet every year, we have attended three or four of the DU banquets in a year.
We also attend the local Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation banquet every year.
There was a Pheasants Forever chapter in the area, but it is no longer active, so the annual banquet doesnít happen. The same goes for the National Wild Turkey Federation chapter.
The banquets, no matter the bird or animal, all have the same focus. There is a silent auction, a live auction, a raffle and a meal. A typical banquet has us arriving on time. This is essential in our mind to get a good seat at a table, usually at toward the back of the room. The view toward the podium and the rest of the tables is desired by us.
We then purchase raffle tickets and look over the raffle items. These vary, such as, a dog grooming, rifle case, car cleaning kit, knives, Peet shoe dryers, throws, first aid kits, tool kits, hats, camping coffee pot and cups, T-shirts, coats and around 200 other items.
Plus, there wasnít just one knife, but six, and five coats, three T-shirts, two tool kits, you get the idea. Many of these are donated items from local businesses. There is a container of some type, such as a cup, next to each raffle item where tickets are deposited.
The silent auction has a bidding sheet by each item. The sheet allows a person to bid up the price. The time when the sheet will be pulled is announced, so bidders will have a chance to add another bid before the bidding is closed. Sometimes this results in two bidders standing by the sheet trying to make one last bid before the close.
Prizes for the silent auction may include: watches, belt buckles, wall art, pistol, pet grooming and much more.
There is another auction, the live auction, where an auctioneer sells off a number of items. These are a bit higher-priced items, such as a rifle or two, guided duck or goose hunting trips, belt buckle for a woman, a womanís watch, belt buckle for a man and much more. There were 30 items at the last Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Banquet in Moses Lake.
Next week: Part two about the fun about attending a wildlife banquet.