Ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Closing Elk Camp 2015 with a Bang

Volunteers are the heart and soul of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation. RMEF honored its 11,000+ volunteers by capping off its Elk Camp national convention with Volunteer Fun Night. Air horns sounded, confetti flew and volunteers from around the nation stood to cheer on their peers as states and chapters received recognition for their fundraising efforts.

It was also a night of game-playing and winning. Random volunteers heard their names called to come to the stage to spin the big wheel. Prizes included a rifle, GPS system, gun safe, outdoor gear and other hunting-related goodies. RMEF founders Bob Munson and Charlie Decker played the part of “shady dealers” and came up short again and again and again against volunteers in us-versus-them blackjack showdowns. RMEF sponsors and supporters supplied prizes for the victorious volunteers.

RMEF shared The Mirage stage with some well-known and “historic” faces. The King of Rock and Roll, Elvis, kicked off dinnertime entertainment by performing a medley of his favorite songs. Marilyn Monroe followed with some tunes of her own but raised some eyebrows (and heart rates) by serenading red-faced men in the crowd. The Rat Pack of Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. capped the Vegas-based entertainment by reuniting to croon some favorite toe-tapping tunes.

Volunteer Fun Night kicked up a notch in energy and volume when RMEF friend, elk hunter and country music superstar Craig Morgan hit the stage. It didn’t take long until the dance floor was full as he and his band rocked deep into the Las Vegas night.

The final day of Elk Camp kicked off the day with sounds of a different type—sounds that if attendees closed their eyes, they would think they are on a mountain ridge rather than in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Competitors of all ages gathered for the annual World Elk Calling Championships. They barked, grunted, mewed and bugled in an attempt to wow the judges. Winners included Corey Jacobsen (pro division), Tom Griffiths (men's), Sutton Callaway (voice), Austin Rose (youth) and Joseph Simper (pee wee).

Three days of auctions concluded with thousands of dollars raised to benefit RMEF’s habitat conservation efforts. Among the more popular items were a pack mule that casually wandered through the auction hall and a golden Labrador puppy that stole a lot of hearts before finding a new home.

Elk Camp 2015 will be a convention to remember to many reasons. But once again elk, elk country, conservation and volunteers are the big winners.

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