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A turkey hunting fundraiser in Hulett helps the local community center and Wyoming wildlife

A turkey
Buck Valley Ranch
Flickr Via CC BY 2.0

The Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot wrapped up its 12th annual event last week, which raised money for the Greater HulettCommunity Center (GHCC) and the Wyoming Wildlife Foundation. This is one of the major fundraising and community events that’s held in the small Crook County community.

“It’s a great event that brings people from outside this local area into Wyoming,” said Michelle Kreisler, Program Director for the GHCC and the turkey shoot. “They love coming here to hunt, they just get so excited, so it’s a great experience because it’s so different from what they may get to do when they’re hunting the eastern [half of the country] or something else, you know, this is just a great area of the ranches and such.”

Kreisler said around 73 hunters converged on the town this year, which is similar to previous years’ events. Approximately $114,000 was raised for the GHCC, and the funds have been able to cover the costs of operating the facility, which is also supplemented with monies collected from renting it out. An auction was also part of the festivities.

The gym floor was refinished earlier this year and new basketball hoops, backboards, and wall mats with the GHCC logo were also installed, which aims to give the facility a different identity than from what it was as the former school, Kreisler added.

The proceeds of the event are divided so that 90 percent of the funds go to the GHCC, while the additional 10 percent go to the Wyoming Wildlife Foundation. The inaugural event was held in 2010 and has been held each year since except for 2020 due to the pandemic. The vast majority of the participants come from out-of-state and hunt on private property owned by local ranchers, Kreisler said.

“It started with the hope that it would grow into something that could continue to fund the building, and it is the major fundraiser each year to do that,” she said.

Additional fundraising events are currently in the planning stages on a smaller scale to diversify the funding model for the GHCC, though the turkey shoot remains the primary source of funding. Several special guests also attended, which included Gov. Mark Gordon and former governors Matt Mead and Dave Freudenthal.

Hugh Cook is Wyoming Public Radio's Northeast Reporter, based in Gillette. A fourth-generation Northeast Wyoming native, Hugh joined Wyoming Public Media in October 2021 after studying and working abroad and in Washington, D.C. for the late Senator Mike Enzi.
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