Wild Game Dinner growth

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Weather doesn’t deter enthusiasts; funds raised for agricultural education

By Ken Esten Cooke— Organizers say that in spite of rainy, cold weather, the place to be on Saturday was at the Gillespie County Fair Grounds for the Sixth Annual Gillespie County Wild Game Dinner.

It was plenty warm inside, and organizers say the event raised a record amount of funds to support agricultural and rural education initiatives in the county. While organizers are still tallying this year’s results, last year, the event raised more than $72,000 for these efforts.

In fact, in the past six years, the event has raised $290,000 for these agriculture and rural education efforts. Those funds go to scholarship and education programs, including 4-H clubs, FFA, Farm Bureau, the Youth Livestock Show, rural seminars and other ag-related projects. In these days of limited state budgets and cuts to many programs, funds like this are necessary to keep agricultural education alive and healthy.

Organizers say their long-range goal is to build a county ag barn, where students with no facilities at home can bring their animal projects and receive guidance from local agricultural and horticultural mentors. That is commendable as few things teach responsibility to young people as well as having to take care of an animal they are raising with an eye toward a livestock auction scholarship.

The event included both live and silent auctions with prizes donated from local retailers and hunting operations. Several generous supporters kicked in top prizes, and we thank them for their support of this growing event. Here in the white-tail capital of the country, people jump at the chance to win top-notch firearms, jewelry and many other prizes, all while supporting a great cause.

We also commend the executive team who spearheads this event each year. Those include Lester Meier, Charlie Wilson, Tony Klein, Shawn Lehne, Christie Mohr, Shelee Padgett, Lea Penick, Dac Penick, Billy Teague, Elgin Pape, Diane Wetz, Sofus Nielsen, Jason Janecka, Lauren McBryde, Chris Schoessow and Kristen Crenwelge.

Thanks also to the many volunteers who helped make the event a huge success.

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