The 2018 Stockgrower’s Scholarship banquet brought in more than $8,000, and featured great fun. The event is a primary fundraiser that will allow the group to give scholarships worth at least $1,000 to students going on to college-level agricultural courses. Last year, the group gave $6,000 to four students.
After a prime rib dinner prepared by Randy Garnett’s AppleFlat Catering, the crowd of 119 gathered at Cloverleaf Hall in Enterprise to get busy with the dessert auction.
Daarla Klages’ dessert “took the cake” this year. The huckleberry sour cream creation sparked a bidding war between Bruce Dunn and Harold Hartley, both of Enterprise, and ended setting a record — $710.
The crowd was on its feet, clapping and whistling encouragement as the bidding war progressed.
Friendly competition was the name of the game and the “cowboy table” of Tio Simmons of Wallowa, Greg Schaffeld, Rawley Bigsby of Joseph and Dan and Cynthia Warnock of Imnaha packed their tablewith a dessert dish for each.
The 19 desserts sold for an average of $208 each, bringing in $3,690 toward scholarships.
The heads or tails coin-toss competition was a nail-bitter, as well. Forty bright red shoulder-length rectal exam gloves were sold for the competition, and contenders pulled those on, chose their respective resting places for hands (top of head or back pocket) and then watched in astonishment as emcee Randall Eschler threw heads every time.
The game was stopped to examine the coin, but it passed muster and the competition resumed. Eschler continued to throw heads until only three contenders remained.
The final three were forced into an elimination competition of “rock, paper, scissors” to choose one to voluntarily opt for tails.
Brittanie Ely, 11, of Imnaha had her scissors crushed in the final throw and reluctantly placed her gloved hand on her pants pocket in what she thought was the loser’s position. Then Eschler threw the only tails toss of the night. Ely won a pizza every month for a year from Embers in Joseph. That event brought in $400.
“This event is getting a little better each year,” said Caleb Howard, chairman of the Stockgrowers Scholarship Committee of the Wallowa County Agricultural Resource Foundation. “We raised a record amount of money for scholarships. We raised more money and had more fun every year. This has grown to be one of the largest scholarships in the county.”
There was only one note of business during the otherwise entertaining event, but it was an important one. Rangeland Professional Kelly Birkmaier gave a brief overview on recent challenges to the endangered listing of the Spaulding’s catchfly plant.
The plant was federally listed in 2007 and grazing permits are impacted by the presence of the plant.
However, it turns out hundreds of new sites and thousands of new plants have been discovered, and more are being discovered daily, putting the endangered ruling into question.
A lawsuit was recently filed by the Greater Hells Canyon Council asking the Forest Service to go back and study what impact grazing has on the plant given the new information.
Birkmaier appealed to local ranchers to catalog and report the plant on private property to give researchers a more accurate picture.