The Old West Invitational Turkey Shoot concluded its 12th annual event last week, which raised funds for the Great Hulett Community Center (GHCC) and the Wyoming Wildlife Foundation. This is one of the premier fundraising and community events held in the small Crook County community.
“It’s a great event that brings people from outside of this local area to Wyoming,” said Michelle Kreisler, program director for GHCC and the turkey shoot. “They love coming here to hunt, they’re so excited, so it’s a great experience because it’s so different from what they can do when they’re hunting in the east [half of the country] or something, you know, it’s just a big area of ranches and things.
Kreisler said about 73 hunters converged on the city this year, which is similar to events in previous years. Approximately $114,000 has been raised for the GHCC, and the funds have been able to cover the costs of operating the facility, which is also supplemented by monies raised through its rental. An auction was also part of the festivities.
The gymnasium floor was refurbished 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 from the old school, added Kreisler.
Proceeds from the event are split so that 90% of the funds go to GHCC, while the additional 10% goes to the Wyoming Wildlife Foundation. The inaugural event took place in 2010 and has been held every year since, except in 2020 due to the pandemic. The vast majority of participants are from out of state and hunt on private property owned by local ranchers, Kreisler said.
“It started with the hope that it would become something that could continue to fund the building, and it’s the main fundraiser every year to do that,” she said.
Additional fundraising events are currently being planned on a smaller scale to diversify the GHCC funding model, although the turkey hunt remains the main source of funding. Several special guests were also presentwhich included Governor Mark Gordon and former Governors Matt Mead and Dave Freudenthal.