DU banquet most successful

It just keeps getting better and better.
According to event chairperson Barney Maher, Friday’s Ducks Unlimited banquet and auction, which netted approximately $35,000, was the group’s most successful event in its 22-year history.
“We’ve never done this much,” beamed Maher, adding that about $32,000 was raised at last year’s dinner.
“Some (other years) come close, but not this high,” he added.
The total figure raised at the weekend banquet includes proceeds from the live auction, silent auction and various raffles. The event actually grossed about $45,000, but a number of expenses needed to be recovered.
When the dust settled, the 32 items up for grabs in the live auction garnered about $16,600, nearly $5000 more than was brought in in 2004.
“It just seemed like the crowd got into the live auction,” Maher said. “The prices in the live auction were pretty good.”
Maher added a pair of big-ticket items—an autographed Guy LaFleur Montreal Canadiens jersey and an autographed Bobby Orr hockey stick—helped boost the totals. Both items sold for $1,900.
Still, Maher thinks the annual banquet has the potential to be even more profitable.
“I was hoping we’d crack $50,000 (gross) but we’re not there yet,” he said.
Most of the items up for grabs Friday were supplied by Ducks Unlimited, but a number of local artists also chipped in by donating prints, carvings and wood-workings.
One such piece was an acrylic painting by Fort Frances native Kari-Ann Anderson. The print, dubbed “Family Excursion,” fetched $450 in the live auction.
Maher said the generous contributions of local artists should not be overlooked.
“I think that’s what keeps us going,” he said. “You have to have local support or you’re not going to do very well.”
The proceeds from the banquet and auction, the group’s major annual fundraiser, will be forwarded to the Ducks Unlimited head office, where a decision will be made on how to best spend the cash.
To date, the local organizing committee has raised more than $500,000 for Ducks Unlimited’s national conservation projects.
Also at Friday’s function, the local Ducks Unlimited committeee honoured a number of its members for their longtime support. Laurie Beadle and Larry Cousineau were both presented major donor plaques, while Don Cumming, Tom Mosebeck, Lou Quensel, Luc Quensel and Rick Stamarski recieving plaques acknowledging their 10-plus years of membership.