Clarks receive Foundation's highest award
Not many Elk Camp attendees can go through the four-day event without running across Jake and Kay Clark. From Kay directing the ladies’ luncheon to Jake heading up the auction ring crews, convention for them is not your typical vacation. It’s a labor of love.
The Clarks, this year’s Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award recipients, are responsible for not only making convention successful, but for making the Elk Foundation itself something we can all be proud of.
A surprised Jake and Kay were honored with a standing ovation when the award was presented at Breakin’ Camp, the convention’s grand finale. A man of few words, Jake walked on stage and said, “I can die now.”
Kay explained that winning this award had been a dream of Jake’s since the award was established in Wallace’s honor. “This is the icing on the family cake,” she said.
Indeed, for these Elk Foundation volunteers there is no greater tribute than to be recognized for following in the footsteps of Wallace Fennell Pate, the foundation’s first chairman of the board. Wallace left behind a spirit and energy that can still be felt in all we do today.
As Wallace stood out from the masses, the Clarks do also, in their own way. Part of the Elk Foundation family since its earliest years, they have taken part in 16 of 17 conventions, and all those events echo their charm and personality.
Professional outfitters Jake and Kay, along with their son T.J. and daughter Codi, are vital Elk Camp volunteers. Auction events just wouldn’t be the same without them as auction leaders. Who can forget Jake's sometimes unbelievable—even unmentionable—antics that keep the ladies’ auction crowd going and entertained? At Elk Camp, Jake has shown he is willing to give anything in support of the foundation's mission—even the boxers he wears, which have auctioned for as much as $1,000!
Beyond their personalities and hard work, the Clarks are well known for the ever-popular mule donated to convention each year. A mule like no other, each one shows impeccable training and charisma; this year’s alone sold for $21,000. Ever-generous, Jake and Kay have also donated more than 65 hunts and trips to Elk Camp and Big Game Banquets over the years.
The Clarks joined the foundation in 1986, and have since become Life Members and Partners In Conservation. Jake also served on the board of directors from 1993-1999.
“I consider it an honor to be associated with Jake, Kay and all the Clark family,” says Gary Wolfe, Elk Foundation president and CEO (1998-2001). “Their hard work, dedication and commitment to the Elk Foundation mission exemplify the spirit of the Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award. I know Wallace would be thrilled with their selection.”
The Wallace Fennell Pate Wildlife Conservation Award was established in 1993, and is presented to those who, like Wallace, have made contributions of lasting significance to benefit elk, other wildlife and their habitat across North America. Because of his lifetime commitment, Wallace has become a national role model for what individuals or groups can do to conserve natural resources.
The spirit that drives volunteers to achieve the kind of dedication Wallace possessed was eloquently spoken by him in one short sentence: “Nature’s simplest gifts are life's greatest rewards.”