Tonopah banquet supports work of Elk Foundation

Don Kaminski wants you to know you don’t have to hunt elk to enjoy the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Tonopah Chapter’s banquet.

“It’s a Saturday night, our doors open at 5,” Kaminski said of the Aug. 25 event at the Tonopah Convention Center. “The Elks Lodge puts out the bar, dinner is at 6. There are games, auctions, silent auctions, raffles, a bugling contest, darts and dice … We make a night of it.”

The organization actually will hold three other banquets in Nevada by year’s end: Aug. 25 in Tonopah, Sept. 15 for women only in Wellington and Dec. 7 in Eureka. Tickets for any of them can be purchased at rmef.org/nevada

“The money is for wildlife habitat and restoration,” Kaminski said. “We take the money — it stays in the state — and we do guzzlers, fence projects, clearing of certain areas for elk. And it benefits more than just elk. It benefits the deer population and the antelope population.”

This will be the 13th year for the banquet in Tonopah, and Kaminski said approximately 150 people have attended in years past.

“I’m hoping to expand this year, because this is the first year we’re doing it in August instead of in April,” he explained. “We’re hoping to get a bunch of people who couldn’t make it in April.”

It might be working, as Kaminski noted the organization has received reservations from Beatty, Hawthorne and Henderson, among other places.

There are different levels of tickets available, starting at $35.

“It’s not expensive,” Kaminski said. “If you just want to come to the event, it’s $35 for the meal, and you don’t have to buy anything from there. That’s up to you. We’d love for everyone to become an RMEF member, which is $35 a year. And there are other memberships available, too.

“If you become a sponsor for $300, for every five sponsors we have a drawing, and the winner has the option of a rifle or $500 Cabela’s gift certificate.”

For groups, there is the option of a Big Bull Table, which includes meals for eight, two RMEF memberships, $300 in raffle tickets, plus a gun that belongs to that table. Whoever signs up the table can decide what they want to do with the gun, Kaminski said, noting a lot of them raffle it off between the people at the table.

There is also a progressive raffle, with the prize being a gun or a bow, with the winner put into a nationwide draw for a hunt, complete with wardrobe. There is a mystery gun box, and with each ticket comes a key. If your key opens the box, you win the gun box and whatever is inside of it. There is a rose raffle for women, where for $20 you get a rose along with your raffle ticket. There also are events for kids.

The RMEF boasts more than 227,000 members in 500 chapters, along with more than 11,000 volunteers. In Nevada, there are 3,948 members, with regional chairs to help organize it all. And some of the organization’s biggest supporters are corporate, including Round Mountain Gold and Tonopah Solar Energy, according to Kaminski.

For tickets, go to rmef.org/Nevada and for more information call 775-482-9885.

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