Blackfoot Valley Dispatch - The Blackfoot Valley's News Source Since 1980

By Roger Dey
BVD 

Blackfoot Chapter of Ducks Unlimited marks 20 years, remembers Daugherty

 

Roger Dey

Ellie Schouten discusses items on display with banquet guests

The Blackfoot River Chapter of Ducks Unlimited celebrated 20 years last weekend, and at the same time paid tribute to the man known for developing the organization's largest, most successful sealed bid auction program.

Former Lincoln District Ranger Daina Bambe, her husband Dick Denslinger and Ernie and Renee Lundberg started the Blackfoot River Chapter and annual banquet in 1999, as a way to help Ducks Unlimited preserve wetlands and also to help the community's economy with a new event to draw people to town.

Over the years, the Blackfoot River Chapter has distinguished itself as one of the top fundraising chapters in the state, and was recognized as one of the top 20 chapters in the Great Plains region in 2016. This year, it earned national recognition as a Roll of Honor chapter for fundraising that brought in between $65,000 and $99,000.

Much of that recognition can be credited to Jim Daugherty, whose involvement with DU dated back to 1974. Daugherty, who passed away last August, had been a member of the Blackfoot River Chapter since 2005 and earned a national reputation for his efforts in the DU Sealed Bid Auction Program. He served as the SBA program chair and ran a program in Montana that stretched from Miles City to Whitefish. Daugherty told the BVD in 2017 that he averaged about 25,000 miles a year for the SBA program, which auctions off artwork and, in turn, brings in additional guns that can be auctioned off at the banquets. In the four years prior to his death he was DU's most successful SBA fundraiser.

Daugherty was also instrumental in getting the annual banquet in Lincoln together and Lincoln's Ernie Lundberg, the district chairman and area co-chair for Ducks Unlimited, felt his absence this year. "It was more fun with him. He was good at organizing ... he kind of helped give you ideas about how to do things," he said.

Ducks Unlimited memorialized Daugherty in this year's program, and held a moment of silence for him, followed by comments from Regional Director Barry Allen, before the evening's live auction. The auction this year featured artwork from local artists including Annie Allen, Kathy Shaw and Lisa Gibson but it was a sculpture by artist Steve Woodhouse, designed and donated in Daugherty's memory, that stood out to his widow Linda. She said she got pretty choked up when Woodhouse brought the sculpture, entitled "Last Guards" into the hall Friday afternoon as they were setting up for the event.

"The Ducks Unlimited family is really special to me. It's just an honor to have him recognized," she said.

In the end, she took the sculpture home after a successful effort to win it at the auction.

Roger Dey

'Last Guardians' by Steve Woodhouse.

Despite this year's event marking 20 years of banquets in Lincoln, turnout was down a bit with 121 people attending the banquet at the Community Hall. Although Renee Lundberg, DU's state treasurer and Lincoln area co-chair, couldn't say for certain why that was. The cold weather with predictions of heavy snow combined with the 2nd Annual Western Montana Ducks Unlimited Firearms Frenzy, scheduled in Missoula for the same day, may both have had an impact.

Nevertheless, the banquet succeeded in the goal set in 1999 to help bring people to town, drawing 58 visitors from outside of Lincoln and seven from out of state.

 

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