Originally published September 8, 2022
By Leslie Montee
The 2022 Ducks Unlimited Cow Creek Chapter banquet and fundraiser is coming up in 30 days. With the countdown on, the chapter held a meeting at Medina’s in Girard on August 31, 2022, to discuss the event and their plans. Members of the chapter gathered to eat, plan, and fellowship. Ducks Unlimited Regional Director Chris Young was also present at the meeting to offer his expertise.
The event will be held on October 8, 2022, at 5:30 PM. The venue will once again be the St. Michael’s Hall. This year’s event will be the 10th anniversary for the chapter, and they are planning to give the community the best event yet as a thank you for their support over the last decade. Something unique for the sponsors who have been faithful supporters for the entire decade is being planned. A special dinner menu is in the works, as well as some even more enticing items to be auctioned off at this year’s event. A big part of the event’s success is keeping it new and fresh each year. “If you keep doing the same thing every year, it’s not entertaining anymore,” explained Director Young.
For the past 10 years, one thing that has set the banquet apart from other events is their enthusiastic inclusion of the children. The “Greenwings,” as they are called by the chapter members, are the future of the organization and the community. Ducks Unlimited recognizes that and ensures that children are welcome at the event and enjoy it as much as their parents do. Each child gets to take a prize home from the table packed full of goodies and last year’s prize table for the youth included two firearms along with an assortment of other items. Their strategy is effective, with last year’s banquet attracting a record number of children for the chapter.
Already this year, banquet organizers have begun to receive sponsorships and have started the process of gathering items for raffles and the auctions. Items such as a customized gun, 1911 pistol, Patrick Mahomes jersey, Travis Kelce jersey, and multiple pieces of artwork have been obtained with much more to come in the next month. West 4th Pawn in Pittsburg, Kansas provides all the guns for the event. “Everything we use for the event comes from Crawford County,” says Butch Reif, co-chair of the event. “It means a lot for us to be able to keep it local. The tax dollars go to our roads and our schools for our kids.” Johns Sports Center of Pittsburg provides a lot of the event’s prizes.
While the Cow Creek Chapter is relatively new, Ducks Unlimited has been working to conserve wildlife for 85 years. The mission of Ducks Unlimited is simple: to conserve, restore, and manage wetlands and associated habitats for North American waterfowl, in order to keep the skies full of waterfowl today, tomorrow, and forever for generations to come. Events like the banquet are an integral part of keeping that mission alive. Not long ago, funds were used to complete a $3.1 million project at the Neosho Wildlife area near St. Paul, Kansas. The aging infrastructure on the waterfowl management area was in dire need of renovation, which it received. According to the Ducks Unlimited website, over 1,600 acres of wetlands were enhanced by levee construction and installing a new pump station in the Neosho Wildlife area.
As the event coordinators work hard to keep the banquet an ongoing success, their efforts are recognized across the state. Last year, the chapter won a state award, the Blue Goose award. One of the only two chapters in Kansas to receive the award, they have done so for the past six years in a row.
Tickets and sponsorships are open to be purchased by the public at www.ksdu.org or by calling Butch Reif at 620-674-2061 or Ryan Sodamann at 620-249-1047 to learn more. The chapter says sponsorships are open until the event, but they do prefer to have at least a week’s notice to get the sponsor’s name and information on the promotional banner. “This way it gives them some much-deserved recognition and exposure,” explained Reif. “We hope to have another great event. We care most about the smiles out the door and the kids than anything else. We hope that resonates.”
If you don’t have any plans on October 8, plan to be at St. Michael’s Hall for a fun night with great food for a worthy cause. Do it for the ducks!