Safari Club fundraiser a big shot event | CraigDailyPress.com

Safari Club fundraiser a big shot event

Emcee Steve Blackwell discusses the work of Safari Club International while diners tuck into their meals at the SCI Yampa Valley Chapter fundraiser banquet Saturday night at the Clarion Inn & Suites. Now in its seventh year, the event saw its biggest turnout yet.

The Safari Club International Yampa Valley Chapter aimed for a big turnout this year at its seventh annual fundraiser, and it hit its target and then some.

It was a considerable crowd Saturday evening for the SCI banquet at the Clarion Inn & Suites, as residents dove in to dinner and more provided by the group, which focuses on promoting hunting and wildlife conservation.

Karl Huntsman, chapter president, said this year may have been the biggest crowd the club has seen yet. With about 230 tickets sold, he had to deny a number of people hoping to get in at the last minute, strictly for the sake of the venue's capacity.

"I hate to turn people away, but now they get the message — get your stuff early and don't be left out," he said.

With food, games, drawings and live and silent auctions throughout the night, Huntsman said the enthusiasm was also at a high.

"It looks like everybody's having fun," he said.

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With prizes available like coveted firearms, the décor of multiple area taxidermists' best mounts fit right in, as did the many awards won by the local SCI from its larger affiliate, including 2014 Chapter of the Year and a certificate acknowledging the work done with disabled veterans, only one of a myriad efforts supported by Safari Club.

Wayne Clark, a regional representative for SCI, was on hand to provide more information about the organization, able to sign up about 20 people for membership within the first hour of the banquet.

"It's a great turnout, and all the money stays right here in the community," he said.

Huntsman won't have a total for the funds brought in for the night until Monday or so, though his goal of bringing in $20,000 to $25,000 seems possible.

Whatever the amount, it will go to a good cause.

"I think it'll be great," Huntsman said.

Contact Andy Bockelman at 970-875-1793 or abockelman@CraigDailyPress.com or follow him on Twitter @CDP_Sports.

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