By JOYCE COOPER
The Great Smoky Mountains Chapter of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation (RMEF) will host their 18th annual Big Game Banquet & Auction at the Crowne Plaza Expo Center in Asheville on Saturday, Aug. 13. If you have enjoyed visiting with the elk in Cataloochee Valley or in Cherokee, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the RMEF, to raise funds for the elk restoration project, and to have fun too. This year, they are celebrating the tenth anniversary of the reintroduction of the elk into Great Smoky Mountains National Park.The evening will begin at 4pm with Joe Yarkovich, Elk Researcher with the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, presenting an informative update on the reintroduction of the elk project.
Then the fun and fundraising begins for a memorable evening–all in a spirit of camaraderie shared by folks who love the outdoors. A prime rib dinner with all the fixings will be followed by raffles and drawings, a silent auction and a live auction (at least 13 rifles or shotguns and 2 handguns will be raffled or auctioned). Some of the auction items include: “The Judge”, a Smith & Wesson .357 Mag, a John Wayne Limited Edition Browning Winchester Model 92, or a Browning B78 Sporter, .300 H&H to name a few. If you are the lucky winner of the Progressive Rifle Drawing (Remington Model 700 SPS, 7mm), then you are entered in a drawing for a Premium Seven-Day Colorado Elk Hunt for two.
At least six hunting trips and one pack trip will be auctioned in addition to the special Pro Bull Riders Package which includes two tickets to the “Built Ford Tough” World Finals (all five performances), five night hotel accommodations at the MGM Grand, official host hotel of Cowboys for Conservation, five nights of VIP Pre-Party Passes and 2 VIP Lunch Tickets, including a Meet and Greet with celebrity riders. The event is Oct. 26-30 in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center.
For those folks with additional interests, there will be many lovely items for the home in all price ranges. A framed, matted work by Scott Hotaling of Cullowhee, an award-winning photographer, will be auctioned. “Bull Elk at Dawn” shows a bull elk at sunrise in the Cataloochee Valley of western North Carolina. The ‘steam’ around his antlers is from a recent bugle
Monies raised will support the RMEF in saving elk habitat and reintroducing
elk in various locations of the United States. If you would like to become a
member of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and attend the banquet, contact Joyce Cooper in Cherokee at (828) 506-3308, Tim Queen in Asheville at (828) 273-4085, Joe Treadway in Asheville at (828) 230-6040, Ray & Ramona Bryson in Hendersonville at (828) 891-4455, or Rusty McLean in Waynesville at 828.452.2896. If you would like to join the organization, individual membership is $35.00. The cost of the meal is $45.00 per person. Banquet doors open at 5:00 p.m. Dress will be casual.
If you purchase a membership and attend the banquet, you will receive a free Buck knife with the RMEF logo, retail value of $39.95. You will also receive six issues of the “Bugle” magazine in the coming year.
Joyce is the RMEF State Chair for North Carolina.