Waterfowl habitat projects once again will benefit from the generosity of district residents after another successful evening of fundraising at the 16th-annual Ducks Unlimited banquet here Friday night.
Although the local DU committee is still sifting through the paperwork, preliminary figures indicated more than $36,000 was grossed at the banquet, which attracted almost 200 people to La Place Rendez-Vous.
And that amount of money isn’t anything to quack at, at least not in the eyes of committee chairman Barney Maher.
“That figure has been about the average for the last four or five years,” he noted yesterday. “But I think it might be better than last year.”
He added it would be about three weeks before a financial statement from the committee would confirm that.
The evening wrapped up pretty much on schedule just after 11 p.m., said Maher, giving kudos to auctioneer Telford Advent for keep things flowing and holding the crowd’s attention.
“He was very good and he kept everyone from getting bored,” he added.
Advent gave a sense of satisfaction about his participation in the auction, and said the bidding was comparable to banquets of similar nature he had done in Kenora.
“It was good. I’ve done auctions for the Anglers and Hunters in Kenora and I would say the bidding at this one was what I expected,” he remarked.
“Some of the prices [here] went a little higher than I thought they would but that’s good, too,” he added. “As long as they’re happy, I’m happy.”
The live auction, which featured 44 items up for grabs (six more than last year), fetched roughly $15,800. A “Saw-Whet Owl” carving by local artist Bev Murray garnered a top bid of $1,900 from Willie Anderson.
Her carving fetched $700 more at Friday’s banquet than a similar one she had donated last year.
The DU mystery print, unveiled near the end of the evening as a Robert Bateman print entitled “Red Wolf,” fetched a silent bid in excess of $800 from Mrs. Fred Brown.
“It was appraised at $1,050 so that [bid] was good,” reasoned Maher.
Other top bids in the live auction portion were for a 30.06 calibre Ruger K77RP rifle with case and scope, courtesy of DU ($950); a U.S. Migratory Bird Stamp Collection starting in 1934, also courtesy of DU ($925); and a print entitled “Patiently Waiting” by Terry Redlin ($600).
Local artists also had items up for bid in the live auction, included Al Heskins’ “Blue Jay Wood Carving” ($125); Cher Hogan’s “Working Airplane” print ($250); Kari-Ann Anderson’s “Snow Leopard” ($250); Ray Coran’s “Golf Partners” ($225); Pam Brandrick’s “A Fox” ($175); and Allan Anderson’s “Goldeye” decoy ($400).
A five-day housekeeping cabin for four on Barker Bay (Lower Manitou), courtesy of Ted and Faye Davis, fetched $425 while a two-night weekend getaway for two to King Island, with meals and transportation included, courtesy of Hanson’s Wilderness Lodge in Nestor Falls, went for $250.
The silent auction, which brought in about $7,300 overall, saw contributions from locals Louis Quesnel, Sid Asselin, Bill Martin, Jas Spencer, Bruce Caldwell, Steve and Donna Latimer, Vi Plumridge, George Blanc, Aleata Jerry, and Jean Richards.
One of the most popular raffles of the evening was the “Goose Band Draw,” which sold out in a matter of minutes.
Dennis Soderholm was the winner of that draw, which included a cooler of steaks (courtesy of M&M Meats), a set of cutlery knives (courtesy of DU), and a three-day, two-night hunt, fish, or snowmobile housekeeping cabin at Birch Point Camp (courtesy of Dale LaBelle).
Ironically, Soderholm’s name also was the first one drawn in the “Special Raffle”—garnering him a choice of a Las Vegas trip or a camping package (he chose the latter, which included a one-day guided fishing trip for two, fishing rods and reels, backpacks, sleeping bags, binoculars, a tackle box, and a four-man tent).
“He’s so lucky, that guy!” laughed Maher. “But then, he bought a lot of tickets.”
The Vegas trip—which included return air fare for two (compliments of International Travel Services), Samsonite luggage (compliments of Green’s Furniture and DU), and $300 cash (compliments of the DU committee)—was won by Darcy and Tammy Oliphant of Dryden.
The pre-banquet special raffle of a 60th-anniversary Browning 12 ga. shotgun (courtesy of DU Canada and the local DU committee) was won by Patti Roy.
Presentations of a DU print also were made to Cher Hogan and Allan Anderson for their long-time contributions of artwork and carvings to the local banquet.
Hogan’s prints have brought in more than $3,000 for Ducks Unlimited while Anderson’s lifelike decoy carvings have raised some $2,500.
While Maher will be busy over the next couple of weeks wrapping up DU business for another year, he’s looking forward to time away from the hustle and bustle that went into planning the banquet.
“I’m going fishing!” he chuckled.