Out of the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s 38-year existence, Ron Nichols and his younger brother Tim have been around for 30. Over those three decades, they’ve dedicated countless volunteer hours to ensure the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. One reason for their dedication is the elk. But perhaps, there may be an equally important and valid reason: our hunting heritage. These are the last words of our mission statement, and yet they encompass the “great central task,” as stated by Theodore Roosevelt, “of leaving this land even a better land for our descendants than it is for us”.
Over the Nichols’ 30 years of involvement, there has been a lot of change, this is part of time passing, like the changing of the seasons. As Ticket Chair for 22 years and Chapter Chair for six, Ron has been involved with many of the Elk Foundation’s changes himself. With change though comes the establishment of our traditions, the establishment of our heritage. One tradition that has been a pillar of the Chehalis Chapter’s Big Game Banquet, which now takes place every fourth Saturday in March, was initially a change 26 years ago. On the surface, it seems to take the form of a simple kids coloring contest, but then, at the Jester Auto Museum, the Chehalis Chapter conducts an art auction of epic proportion. Surrounded by classic cars, feuding parents and grandparents, working to establish themselves as the “favorite”, vie for artwork that sometimes sells for as high as $650!
While this is a fantastic and creative fundraising event for the chapter, the biggest winners are the children, whose smiles and excitement are fundamental to ensuring the future of elk, other wildlife, their habitat and our hunting heritage. As some Chehalis attendees said, “the youth are the future of Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation” and that the “purchasers are some of those who understand what it’s all about the most.”