DU banquet tops $30,000

The 21st-annual Ducks Unlimited banquet hosted by the Fort Frances committee Friday night was a huge social success, even though the money raised was down slightly from last year.
Nearly 200 people—some dressed in their finest attire—packed the banquet room upstairs at La Place Rendez-Vous to open their wallets and loosen their belts at the annual feast and auction.
Sixty-two items—many of them locally-made—were up for bid in a silent auction.
Then after dinner and several special presentations, things got serious as Telford Advent took over the microphone and entertained bids on 33 items in a live auction that eventually yielded $11,910 for Ducks Unlimited.
The top item was a Red Wings jersey autographed by Gordie Howe, which went to Ted Davis of Fort Frances for $1,150.
Other items fetching big bucks were the Benelli NWA 12 ga. pump shotgun ($700), a deluxe chair and ottoman ($590), a framed feather collection ($525), “Reflections of Autumn” print ($525), and Mike Weir “Masters Champion” ($500).
Trips also are a popular item each year, with a housekeeping cabin for four at Barker Bay Outpost going for $500.
A housekeeping cabin for six at Birch Point Camp fetched $450 while a weekend getaway for two at Hanson’s Lodge went for $400.
Works by local artists also went for high bids, including a boot storage shelf by Malcolm Douglas ($375), a working Ring-Neck decoy by Allan Anderson ($350), and a watercolour print by Connie Cuthbertson ($300).
A centrepiece raffle, pluck-a-duck raffle, goose band raffle, catalogue raffle, leisure raffle, and pyramid raffle yielded the rest of the proceeds for the evening.
Also at the banquet, three local businesses were honoured with the Pewter Teal Award in recognition of their ongoing contributions to Ducks Unlimited over the past several years.
Tompkins’ Hardware in Emo, Canadian Tire Associate stores, and Hanson’s Wilderness Lodges in Nestor Falls were jointly recognized, although only Tom Mosbeck from Tompkins’ Hardware was on hand to accept it.
Barney Maher, chairman of the Fort Frances DU committee, said proceeds from the live auction were lower than last year because there were not as many items up for bid.
Nonetheless, he felt the dinner was a highly-successful affair.