After a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19, the annual Northeast Colorado Pheasants Forever Fundraising Banquet returned on Friday, November 11 at Sterling Elks Lodge and it was a huge success.
Begun in 1982, the banquet is now in its 33rd year and is held on the second Friday of November each year. The final sum raised this year will not be known for another two to three weeks, but Tammy Malick, who co-chaired the event with Bob Hicks, said: “The banquet went very well and the community was very willing to donate . It was sold out; The crowd we wanted to be there was the crowd that was there.”
Pheasants Forever is a conservation committee that has two missions, its first mission is outreach and education for youth, women and novice hunters. It also focuses on protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat in northeastern Colorado.
“We do a lot with young people, we try it with women and for men. We donate money to farmers to plan different areas as bird habitat so people can go pheasant hunting naturally. We’re just some kind of conservation association,” Malick said.
In addition to a live auction to raise funds for the organization, there was also a raffle for prizes. A young girl won a .22 youth handgun and a shotgun was also raffled off. In keeping with its mission, the organization also bought small prizes for the rest of the approximately 15 youth who attended, “everyone went home with something,” Mallick said.
The banquet also included a special check presentation where the organization donated $2,500 to the Sterling Caliche Trap team.
“We definitely appreciate your donation and are excited to be a part of your work,” said coach Brad Marx.
A few members of the trap team were on hand to help with the live auction that was part of the event, including Sam Lange, who took first place at his fall league conference. According to Marx, the state High School Trap League is divided into several conferences based on school size. In addition to first place in his conference, Lange was number two nationally.
Trap Shooting is divided into two sections, a Fall Season and a Spring Season. The fall season just wrapped up last month and Marx said it was “actually tough for us, we’ve been at the top of these two teams for a while,” but this year Sterling and Caliche’s teams both finished fourth in their conferences .
Nevertheless, it was a good experience for the team members.
“It teaches them the safe use of firearms and introduces them early to shotgun, sport and hunting,” Marx said.
He hopes the team will have more success in the spring, especially considering there will be more students on the team. The fall league, according to Marx, “isn’t that important to the sport as a whole,” it’s basically viewed as a practice, while the spring league is “actually the guard of the high school league.” Normally the fall league doesn’t have that many students because there are a lot of farm and ranch kids who just don’t make it, but last spring there were 46 students and only two students graduated, so Marx expects at least 40+ on the team next spring.
“It turned out to be a really good program, when I took it over we only had about 13 or 18 students and it’s really far away,” Marx said.
The team is always looking for new members. Any student in grades 6 through 12 is eligible to participate. Interested parties can email [email protected]