County 10™

Biggest Bighorn Bash ends record year

Biggest Bighorn Bash ends record year

(Dubois, Wyo.) - The annual fundraiser for the National Bighorn Sheep Interpretive Center in Dubois is always crowded, noisy, and fun. But this year it was bigger than ever, and that wasn’t the only reason to celebrate.

“I can’t believe how much has happened in the past year,” said Executive Director Sara Domek, speaking to more than 200 people who packed the Headwaters Center on Saturday evening. The Bighorn Center had 5,000 visitors last summer, she said, “despite the [Lava Mountain] fire and the fact that firefighters were camped all over our back yard.” The Center has also won grants that allowed it to hire a new staff member to enhance the education program, which is its main mission.

Speaking over a happy hubbub, former town consultant Pat Neary shared his memories of the years when the Bighorn Center was founded. He recalled a time when exhibits were not so closely tuned to local wildlife: A giraffe and an elephant once occupied the space where his audience was now enjoying their catered dinners.

The silent auction was the only silent feature of the evening, which also included a live auction as well as 21 different raffles, a hi-lo card game, and a bingo game. As usual, supporters of Dubois’ landmark visitor attraction paid handsomely for some of the items on offer.

Leigh Tuckey’s $3,000 bid won her a round, quilted wall hanging showing a bighorn sheep, which she immediately donated back to the Center. A jewelry box with a lid made of ramshorn bearing the sculpted image of a bighorn ram’s head, made by local artist Tom Lucas, brought $1,900 from an anonymous bidder. Education Assistant Karen Sullivan placed the winning bid, speaking to the bidder on her cellphone. “We think it might have brought more if people had known who they were bidding against,” she said later.

Sullivan, a microbiologist who moved to Dubois after working at Louisiana State University, has spent the past year creating new educational displays and visiting area schools, to help people learn more about the large herds of these majestic sheep that also call the Wind River Valley home.

Images above show two auction items. 

h/t Lois Wingerson