‘Something going on every 10 minutes’

The Sportsmen’s Smoker, held Friday, Oct. 25 in Wahpeton, is a fundraiser for the Sportsmen’s Club. With a $20 admission, guests will enjoy wild game stew and chili. The event is open to ages 21 or older, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Starting at 6 p.m. Friday, Oct. 25, the Red River Area Sportsmen’s Club will host its annual Sportsmen’s Smoker at the Wahpeton Community Center, 304 Fifth St. S.

The Sportsmen’s Smoker, which has a $20 admission fee, is a fundraiser for the Sportsmen’s Club. Guests will enjoy wild game stew and chili. The event is open to ages 21 or older, unless accompanied by a parent or guardian.

“We’ll have enough going on to keep everyone there involved and engaged,” Club President Greg Gerou said. “We try to have something going on every 10 minutes.”

This year’s Sportsmen’s Smoker is scheduled to include the gun boards, numerous raffles and games. Proceeds will be used to support local youth programs, wildlife projects and Chahinkapa Zoo.

“It is a bit of a challenge for us, holding this event at a new venue. We do have the opportunity to make some changes,” Gerou said.

St. John’s Catholic Church, Wahpeton, is allowing Sportsmen’s Smoker organizers access to its kitchen. This is beneficial to the organizers, who appreciate the Community Center kitchen but know it wasn’t as accommodating as the one at the now-demolished Wahpeton Eagles Club.

“Your admission gets you as much chili and stew as you want until it’s gone,” Gerou said. “We prepare about 10 roasters worth of each, which lasts a good share of the night. Everyone’s certainly full when it’s gone.”

Although they’re required to attend with a parent our guardian, underage guests are frequently seen at the Sportsmen’s Smoker.

“They get to see the work that goes behind some of our fun events,” Gerou said.

Projects benefitting from the smoker’s success include:

• development and access of the Red, Otter Tail and Bois de Sioux rivers

• development of fisheries and other projects on Mooreton Lake in Richland County, North Dakota

• the Junior Wildlife Club, providing outdoor activities for youth aged 8-16

• wildlife and nature education for area youth

The Red River Area Sportsmen’s Club and its partners holds four youth fishing derbies every year as well as the Family Fishing Nights. They are designed to teach all ages how to enjoy fishing.

Earlier this fall, area youth participated in the annual duck and pheasant hunts. Youth with serious illness were also able to participate in the Twist of Fate archery hunt and the Hunt of a Lifetime.

Secondary students and young adults are supported through the club’s involvement with clay target shooting, as well as college scholarships for wildlife management and enforcement majors.

Additionally, the Red River Area Sportsmen’s Club partners with organizations including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and the North Dakota Game and Fish bureau.

“Our goal is to make sure that there is an opportunity in the future for youth and adults alike to be able to enjoy nature and its inhabitants,” Gerou said.

It’s not too late to donate a prize, including a gun, to the Sportsmen’s Smoker. For more information, contact Rich Truesdell at 701-640-5136.

“We are most grateful for all the donations,” Gerou said. “Many of our prizes have been donated by local businesses and individuals. We’s so thankful to all who have donated and helped the RRASC in any way.”

More than 30 years of fundraising has created several proud memories. Gerou will never forget a perfect storm, so to speak.

“One year, the weather was just right,” he recalled. “All the harvesting was complete for the time being and it was perfect outside. Everyone was free and able and wanted something to do. They came to us. We ended up having to stand, there were that many people. I wouldn’t mind something like that.”

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