On a warm and melty March 3 night, the Nakusp Rod and Gun Club convened in the Legion hall for a social night of awards. And for the chance to win the big-ticket raffle prize of a skookum new rifle as well as some other door prizes. But really, all eyes were on the dead sexy matte black and grey Sako Finnlight 270WSM, valued at $2,000.
It was a beauty, to be sure, and there were many folks who joked, “get your hands off my gun, Hank” when MC Hank Scown was showing it off to the crowd.
Tucking the gun back in its box until it was time for some lucky ticket holder to win and take it home, Scown started the awards night in seriousness. Before announcing the Club winners, he took a moment to remember Ken Penner.
“Our thoughts are with the family of Kenny Penner,” Scown said, who also took the time to remind everyone there how precious each day is and encouraged everyone to think of their loved ones, and “be really careful out there.”
At this early point in the night, he also demonstrated his own care and concern by reminding folks to designate a driver or take advantage of Nakusp’s taxi service if they were drinking.
Rolling on to the awards themselves, Scown brought up the fact that the list of winners was shorter than it usually was due to “some members neglecting to enter,” and gently poked fun at those hunters and fishers who might have been on the list if only they had figured out how to register their catches once they’d officially become members of the club.
John Miller, who wasn’t in the room that night and was rumoured of having forsaken the Rod and Gun Club Awards in favour of some sunnier, hotter climes, took the prizes for Mule Deer and Non-typical Mule Deer. Fortunately, Miller had no problem identifying Mule Deer, typical or not, where this reporter has a feeling she’d be lost in the woods if she had to tell them apart at this point.
Paul Seaton, who was assisting on stage as Scown was going to need three arms to be able to put on and take off his glasses, man the mic and hand out the awards, took home the Whitetail Deer award.
Next up was Jesse Cann for Elk, whose award-winning rack of antlers he proudly held for a quick picture. Cann, who Scown joked was “lucky” as well as an ardent hunter, also scooped the Grizzly award.
Julian Sapietis humbly took home the Black Bear and Archery awards for the year.
In the junior categories, Jordan Trenholm took home the Whitetail prize, and Dillon Hascarl the Elk. Cameron Olson had quite the year and received not only the Junior Mule Deer award, but the Junior Bull Trout as well. The Junior Bull Trout weighed in at 14 pounds 3 ounces; not bad for a young fish or a junior fisherman!
Keeping it in the family, David Olson walked away with the Senior Bull Trout prize for a fish only slightly lighter than Cameron’s.
Twelve-year-old Cameron Olson was also awarded the Fred Pigott Award for Junior Hunter. The award which commemorates dedicated hunter Fred Pigott is given to a junior member who is keen, honest, hardworking, and ethical, showing respect for the out of doors and property.
“Someone that shows real leadership,” Scown explained, “It’s not necessarily for the biggest fish or deer.” This year, the two coincided for Cameron Olson.
Terry Warren presented Olson with the trophy, a finely-crafted white mountain goat perched on a rocky pedestal, and with his keeper trophy of a beautiful deer sculpture.
Taking a break for rifle raffle ticket sales, Scown sat down with his wife and a bunch of
“One of the reasons for the junior awards is that it encourages parents to spend time with the kids,” Scown also told me later in conversation, making it in effect a family award as well.
When asked about local relations between hunters and non-hunters, Scown said they were “pretty good.” Scown remembers days past when lots of families in the valley were fed by hunting, “especially before the lake went up,” he recalled.
The Rod and Gun Club used to feed its members and guests a dinner of game at their annual awards banquet, but Helen Scown said it became too expensive and the numbers dropped. Now, the feature of the awards night is the chance to win a rifle worth thousands for $20 a try, and people were more than willing to come out and take part.
When the tickets were brought out for the rifle raffle, the formerly sedate hunters and fishers were on their feet, descending on the ticket salesmen like a pack of wolves. In no time at all, over a hundred tickets were sold to the crowd of about 60 people.
Hank Scown resumed his spot at the microphone, and performed as the perfect MC, reeling the audience in, bit by bit. After an excruciating process of elimination, where Scown had the final few come up on stage, he revealed the winning number, and a beaming Roy Kirby stepped forward to claim his new pride and joy, the Sako Finnlight 270SWM.
After the big one, the rest were just consolation prizes for everyone who showed up for the night. Consolation prizes, but some pretty nice ones. I walked away with a modest cash doorprize, and many others took home knives, leathermen, caps, cups, and much more.
Next year, I hope to have my CORE and my Rod and Gun membership, and I’ll be gunning for the rifle myself.