Our chapter, St Vrain Anglers, became interested in the project to research the movements of invasive lake trout in Yellowstone Lake as a prelude to determining ways to suppress their numbers or eliminate them, and we wanted to support that program financially. A member donated a Winston Tom Morgan Favorite rod with a Ross Evolution reel to be used as a raffle prize for donations. As we were organizing the raffle, another of our members, Mike Turner, died from complications of Parkinson's disease. We decided to make the donation in his name as a memorial to this much-loved man. Our initial efforts started off with a bang: we sold about half of our 100 tickets quite quickly. Sales dragged, however, through the winter, and we became concerned about selling all 100. About 35 tickets remained unsold as of our May meeting. An angel then swooped in and bought the remaining tickets, so we met our goal of donating $2000 to the Yellowstone project. This angel and I assigned the tickets to outstanding students we know- kids from our own chapter's Kids Learn to Fly Fish Program as well as many campers from past CTU Youth River Conservation and Fly Fishing camps.
We held the drawing in late May. The winner was Ben Ward, a member of the 2011 CTU camp. Ben was invited back to the 2012 and 2013 camps as a youth counselor, assisting the adult counselors with camp activities. Ben was chosen as a youth counselor because of his leadership as a camp participant, and because of his extensive involvement with his local TU chapter in Trinidad, CO. You might say that Ben was the perfect person to win the raffle.
As a CTU camp counselor, I had the pleasure of presenting the rod and reel to Ben the first evening of this year's camp, held at High Lonesome Ranch near DeBeque, CO. To say Ben was surprised would be an understatement. The look on his face was priceless. So, Ben, congratulations- here's to many years of enjoyment with your new rod and reel.