Alan Smith (centre) presents certificates and duck decoys to Kathryn Hartlaub and David Burkell at Kindersley’s 36th annual Ducks Unlimited banquet held Oct. 14 at the Kindersley Inn. Burkell was recognized for 35 years of service while Hartlaub was recognized for 25 years of service.

Kenneth Brown
of The Clarion

A sold out crowd packed a room on Saturday night at the annual Ducks Unlimited (DU) banquet in Kindersley. The banquet could end up being the most successful yet.

The DU banquet was held on Oct. 14 at the Kindersley Inn. The banquet is organized by a local volunteer committee. All 180 tickets were sold prior to the event, but there were roughly 200 people on hand for the 36th fundraising banquet in Kindersley.

People enjoyed a ham and chicken supper and they took full advantage of the house bar that night. The DU banquet features several draws, raffles auctions and games to keep people busy and entertained throughout the evening. A new game, the Crossbow Challenge, gave people a chance to shoot plastic projectiles at targets to win prizes.

Volunteers Marcia Gunn of Scotiabank (left) and Kelsey Facca show an item during the live auction on Saturday night.

Alan Smith, a manager of events and volunteer relations for Ducks Unlimited, served as master of ceremonies for the event. Before the supper, Smith asked the local DU committee members to stand and to be recognized for their efforts.

Smith said the local committee is led by Diane Krogstad, the chairperson, and the fundraising banquets would not be possible without the hard work of the volunteer committees. He noted that two individuals are being honoured for hitting milestones with respect to their service on the DU committee.

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Kathryn Hartlaub received a plaque and a certificate for her 25 years of service, and David Burkell, an original member of the local committee, received a duck decoy and a certificate for his 35 years of service, along with a standing ovation.

Burkell said he wanted to thank all of the people he has worked with on the committee since it was established. He said there has always been a fantastic committee in place, and he is proud to say the Kindersley fundraiser is “one of the premier banquets in the province and all of Canada.”

The long-time committee member said there is a new group of young people from the Kindersley area out there hunting, so he challenged them to step up and consider joining the committee because older members will be stepping down.

The High Flyer draw is one of the big events at the banquet. The event involves an auction and an elimination draw. A total of 15 DU chairs were auctioned off for between $450 to $550 and winners participate in an elimination draw for a chance to pick one of six prize packages.

A total of 15 people are lined up at the front of the room. An audience member draws the first number to eliminate one of the contestants, and then the eliminated contestants draw the next number. The reactions are priceless.

After the dust settled, Donald Ham of Brock was the last contestant standing. Ham selected a Tim Hortons Brier package with tickets for all draws on three days of next year’s Brier in Regina, a hotel room for three nights, a curling broom signed by Kevin Martin, and an invitation to the Brier Patch to have a meet and greet with Martin. He noted that he was happy to win and his wife helped him to pick the package.

Other notable attractions are the Pick of the Litter, the Big 3 and Shooter draws. There was a special draw won by Gavin McManus, a Kindersley area resident, and he will be entered in another draw to win a trip to go storm chasing with Greg Johnson, the Tornado Hunter.

Krogstad, the chairperson, said the final tally was not available as of Monday, but the gross total was estimated to be about $70,000. She said the committee will know the total after its bills are paid, but the event was a success.

“It exceeded all of our expectations,” she said, adding she would like to thank the sponsors, volunteers and people at the event. “It was really very good this year. Ticket sales were phenomenal. The support from sponsors (was) amazing. The support we get from businesses in the community is always wonderful.”

In an interview, Burkell said he has enjoyed being on the committee. The long-time member said he has continued to be involved with the committee because he really believes in what the organization is doing to conserve habitat.

He noted that it is nice to be recognized by Ducks Unlimited, but the recognition is not as important as the satisfaction of knowing habitat is being protected as a result. The banquet last weekend will end up being the most successful in the committee’s history, so the community deserves credit for the excellent result, Burkell added.


© Kindersley Clarion