Nearly 500 hunting and conservation enthusiasts packed into the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds Stockade Convention Centre for the Lloydminster and District Fish and Game Association (LDFGA) annual awards banquet on Jan. 31.
Organizers estimate that $15,000 was raised at the event from ticket sales, auctions, raffles and sponsorship, a $3,000 improvement over last year. The evening also saw the presentation of 19 hunting awards, and a longtime member and past president of the LDFGA received an honorary life membership.
“It’s a night to get our membership together and celebrate a great evening and wild dinner,” LDFGA past president Bill Armstrong said.
Among the items on the menu for the evening were wild boar, elk, deer, moose and goose in the form of sausages, pepperoni, jerky, meatballs and roast. The entertainment for the evening came courtesy of Double Vision, an identical twin comedy magic act.
“It looks like a full house,” emcee Ethan Walker said at the event. “(I’m looking forward to) the food and the fellowship. Lots of good guys, the chance to swap hunting stories… It’s a good cause. I’m happy to support it.”
Attending as a guest of the LDFGA was Lloydminster MLA Colleen Young. Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA Richard Starke was also invited, but was unable to attend.
This year’s banquet saw the introduction of a new memorial award, which was handed out in recognition of youth fishing.
“We had a life member Lorne Topley who passed away a little over a year ago now, and the family has donated this plaque for this category. We previously didn’t have a category for youth fishing,” LDFGA treasurer Larry Chambers said.
As part of the evening’s proceedings, Chambers awarded past president Gerry Russell an honorary life membership. He says it’s an honour that is only awarded the members who have been involved with the LDFGA for a long time and have had leadership roles.
“From time to time, the executive of the (LDFGA) confers an honorary life membership to a person who has faithfully served at both the committee level and has taken a leadership role with the Association…” Chambers said in his speech.
“So we feel it is certainly time to recognize the contributions of Gerry Russell. Gerry has been involved in our Association for probably 30 years, serving as director for much of that time, and president for three years… So it is with great pleasure that on behalf of the executive, I present Gerry with this honorary life membership to the (LDFGA).”
Chambers said he received many complements on the food and the entertainment, but he says there are areas he would like to improve for next year.
“We would sure like to have people buy their tickets a littler earlier than they do… We have to give our numbers to the Exhibition when we’re talking about that many plates. There’s a lot of food thats got to be ordered and rustled up in a few days,” Chambers said. “One thing we’ll want to look at next year is whether we could arrange the tables differently to make it easier for people to get their appetizers… There’s congestion there and we need to think about it.”
Next year’s awards banquet will take place on the last Saturday in January. Get your tickets early.