Volunteers Represent at National High School Finals Rodeo
In mid-July, about 1,900 horses, 1,600 competitors, 1,500 campers and thousands of fans descended on Gillette, Wyoming, for the 2017 National High Schools Finals Rodeo. The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation is a national sponsor of the event, and, true to form, RMEF volunteers showed up in droves to lend a hand.
Volunteers from the Star Valley Chapter and the Powder River Chapter, along with Wyoming’s two regional directors, manned a RMEF booth all week long where they conducted several raffles, sold RMEF memberships and helped educate visitors about RMEF’s conservation mission. They sold 78 supporting memberships during the 2018 event, and the raffles brought in close to $8,500, all of which helps to support RMEF’s mission.
The partnership began about five years ago, after a representative from the National High School Rodeo Foundation—the scholarship arm of the National High School Rodeo Association—attended an Elk Foundation banquet and reached out for assistance in bolstering their own fundraising event. Banquets are one of the things RMEF volunteers do best, so it was a natural fit.
As part of the partnership, RMEF volunteers assist with the banquet during rodeo week by helping to set up the live and silent auctions, organizing the merchandise and combining donations from vendors to maximize revenue. Most of the money raised at the event benefit scholarships for rodeo participants, though RMEF does retain a small portion of the net proceeds.
“We have a great partnership, and the revenue raised by the Foundation for rodeo scholarships has increased on average by 30 percent. This year’s auction raised over $25,000,” says Jill Tonn, RMEF Wyoming senior regional director. “The Team Wyoming Ring Crew brings enthusiasm and expertise to the event, and we also bring in one of our top auctioneers and a MC.”
This year’s volunteers came from the Sweetwater Chapter in Rock Springs, the Northeast Wyoming Chapter in Hulett, the Powder River Chapter in Gillette and the Star Valley Chapter in Bedford.