By Sarah Pridgeon
The Northeast Wyoming Chapter of the Muley Fanatic Foundation will host its inaugural banquet next week, an opportunity for the public to support local efforts to protect mule deer and improve their habitat.
“All the money raised at this banquet will stay not only in Wyoming, but in this local area,” says Joey Faigl, co-founder of the foundation, explaining that the proceeds from the fundraiser will be used to kick start projects within the county.
In the past, the foundation has supported projects involving water, habitat and research with the University of Wyoming. The latter, says Faigl, is particularly important.
“We’re only as good as the information that has been given to us. Instead of throwing money into things that we assume, we’d rather have the true facts and the research behind it to back it up and go from there,” he nods.
The banquet is set for February 11 at the Crook County Fairgrounds. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with dinner served an hour later.
“Just like any other traditional fundraiser event, we’ll have a live auction and silent auction, games and raffles,” Faigl says.
Live entertainment from Brock Finn will be provided during the prime rib and shrimp dinner. Only 100 tickets to the event will be sold and include annual membership to the chapter.
The local chapter will keep 70 percent of the funds raised at the dinner, says Faigl, while the remaining 30 percent will go back to headquarters in Green River for administration costs. The Northeast Wyoming Chapter, like all other local arms of the foundation, will then set up a projects allocation committee.
“Once they know what their 70 percent funds are, they get that committee together and then they decide where it’s going to go. They know their back yard and local area, they know what needs to happen,” says Faigl, stressing that the foundation believes it’s important to give local chapters control of the funds.
“It’s their community’s money, they are the ones supporting that chapter, so they should be able to decide where those funds should go.”
Alongside the entertainment, the foundation is hoping to display a mounted deer head from a poaching case that received a lot of attention on social media.
“That deer was really well known in the whole back area just north of Pinedale and a lot of residents knew it because it came there every year,” he says.
The large buck was almost a pet to the residents, he continues. Unfortunately, it was poached, mounted and displayed at an expo in Salt Lake City, where it was recognized and the individual who poached it was prosecuted.
With the assistance of the Game & Fish Department, says Faigl, the Muley Foundation often displays mounts and racks as a way to raise awareness of poaching. This is the public’s property and the poachers are thieves who take that property away, Faigl says; the idea is not to name names, it’s to raise awareness and encourage the public to assist Game & Fish in preventing future cases.
For more information about the banquet or to order tickets, contact Kyndell Shoun at 290-2040 or 290-0789 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.