What a thrill it was to see old friends and meet new friends at the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s banquet Saturday at the Benton Events Center.
After last year’s banquet was canceled due to covid-19, Saturday’s banquet was a respite from relentless bad news, but it was also a statement. Fundraising for conservation is back in business.
As is customary, I shared a table with John Balenko and his son Mike Balenko, and Chris Goodwin of Russellville. John does not hunt elk, but he gives generously to the Arkansas Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation in time and money. He donated for auction a new Christensen Mesa rifle chambered in 300 Winchester Magnum, a custom case and a leather RMEF pocket journal. It brought $1,400 in the live auction, and after reading about all of its custom features, I regretted not bidding on it myself.
I didn’t keep track of what all the other rifles and pistols brought in live and silent auctions. I know that a…