“Goose” Gossage Pitches in at RMEF Booth
By Cody Bloomsburg, Bugle Intern
Rich “Goose” Gossage is famous for saving games from atop the pitching mound, whether it was for the New York Yankees, the Chicago White Sox or any one of the teams he played for during his 22-year Hall-of-Fame career as one of Major League Baseball’s most dominant closers.
Since hanging up his mitt, Gossage has dedicated his time to saving more than just wins for a baseball team. Now he volunteers as a member of Team Elk—a group of celebrity hunter conservationists who help raise the public’s awareness of RMEF’s campaign to conserve wildlife habitat.
Gossage lent a hand to Colorado’s Mile High Chapter in August 2009 when he joined volunteers at an RMEF booth during Bass Pro Shop’s Fall Hunting Classic big game weekend in Aurora. Fans of both elk and baseball brought every piece of Gossage memorabilia imaginable for him to sign—including goose decoys.
The Fall Hunting Classic runs for three weekends, with each weekend dedicated to a different hunting genre, including waterfowl, upland game birds and big game. Along with seminars and presentations, Bass Pro Shops also offers space for conservation groups like RMEF to set up a booth and promote their cause.
Brian Soliday, Colorado state chair, says Gossage drew a steady crowd at the RMEF booth, quickly burning through the 225 autographed photos of himself, and stayed twice as long as he’d planned to make sure all of his fans got a chance to see him and learn about the Elk Foundation.
“A lot of people came to be a part of the event,” Gossage says. “These are great outdoorsmen who love the outdoors and love hunting. They also happen to love baseball, too.”
Volunteers from the Mile High Chapter manned the booth, selling more than 40 memberships and about $4,000 in raffle tickets over the course of the weekend, according to Allen Kerby, eastern Colorado regional director.
Gossage hopes to return to the event next year, and plans to continue supporting RMEF however he can. He says his motivation comes from his yearly hunting trips with his three sons, where he gets to experience first-hand the grandeur of elk country.
“The work that RMEF has done, you can’t really put a price tag on it,” Gossage says. “It’s land that is going to be protected forever, and it doesn’t really get much better than that.”