Volunteers Rep at RMEF Hunter and Outdoor Christmas, Cowboy Christmas
By Wapiti Wire Staff
With something for every member of the family to see and do, the 2017 Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Hunter and Outdoor Christmas Expo packed the South Halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center last month. The expo took place December 7-16 in conjunction with the 10 days of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and was located upstairs from the Cowboy Christmas show.
Hundreds of exhibitors showcased the latest hunting gear, firearms, optics, trips, western art and décor and more. Attendees tested their archery skills at the MTN OPS Shootout—Ultimate Archery Experience and took in the sights at the RMEF Great Elk Tour display. Cooking demonstrations and live musical performances from the likes of Easton Corbin, Daryle Singletary, Mark Wills and other country music artists graced the Realtree Live Stage. And every day fans filled the stands to watch the Junior National Finals Rodeo events in the Wrangler Rodeo Arena.
RMEF volunteers showed up in full force, with about 15 helping to set up and then man the RMEF membership booth over the course of the 10-day show. They worked long hours helping people renew their RMEF membership and recruiting new members by explaining conservation, the RMEF mission and all things elk to expo attendees—sometimes even literally roping in perspective members with a lariat. They also sold raffle tickets for almost $80,000 worth of prizes, including a Polaris Ranger and an elk hunt for two from Northern Rockies Outfitters. Not to mention the way they battled the flu that swept through the ranks like wildfire or worked late in the evening on the last day of the show, tearing down booths and stacking pallets to ship supplies back to RMEF Headquarters in Missoula.
While Hunter and Outdoor Christmas drew crowds upstairs, the Elk Foundation’s presence could also be felt downstairs at Cowboy Christmas, where tireless RMEF volunteers manned a second membership booth alongside RMEF regional directors and headquarters staff.
Between the two booths, volunteers helped renew 455 memberships, wrangle in 484 new ones, and sold 49 life memberships.
“It would be nearly impossible for RMEF to run the two large booth spaces, one in Hunter and Outdoor Christmas and one downstairs at Cowboy Christmas, without the dedicated and talented volunteers that attend,” says Steve Decker, RMEF vice president of marketing. “Collectively these booths generate more than $215,000, and the volunteers make that happen. It is an incredible effort on behalf of RMEF and our mission.”