-By Rich Miller
When I flew out last week there was snow on the ground and it was 20-some-odd degrees outside. When I got back home on Tuesday the sun was out and it was a scorching 86 degrees. I had been in Fort Worth, Texas for the past six days for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundations National Convention. This is always and amazing show. The RMEF always goes all out to treat its volunteers and members to a fun-filled four days at Elk Camp, as they call it.
I arrived on Tuesday afternoon to get our booth setup and make sure that all our products had arrived on time. I was there to sell elk and turkey calls for Knight & Hale Game Calls. The show started on Thursday and all of the members and exhibiters hit the show floor wide open.
I am not sure how many exhibiters were there, but the convention center we were in was packed from wall to wall with outfitters from all across the world. It didn’t matter what kind of hunts you are interested in, you could find it at this convention. There were also factory reps, knife makers, clothing companies, artist, and jewelry makers.
After the doors closed on Thursday the opening ceremony was held at the world famous Billy Bob’s. There was a Texas style barbeque dinner and Randy Travis was the entertainment for the evening.
Friday night was volunteer appreciation night and, as always, it was the most enjoyable night of all. The food is always excellent and the entertainment was Sawyer Brown and let me tell you, entertain he did. That sucker has more energy on stage than a school bus full of kids at Disney World. They always keep this night’s entertainment a secret; we never know who it is until they are introduced to come on stage.
Saturday night is always exciting but it is also sad because it is the end of Elk Camp. Just like the other nights we are treated to an awesome meal and great entertainment. The entertainer for Saturday night was Travis Tritt and it seemed like he played forever.
All of this was a great time, but there is a purpose to Elk Camp besides eating like kings and listening to great entertainment. It is held to raise money for the sole purpose of wildlife conservation. This is the 25th anniversary of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and in the last twenty five years they have established elk herds in states like Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina. They have protected millions of acres land that will be there for my children and grandchildren so that they too will hear the majestic sound of a bugling bull elk. If you ever get a chance to attend one of these Elk Camps and see the passion and willingness of the volunteers to do what it takes to preserve elk country, you too will want to become a member.