Despite the flood, the show must go on. That was the attitude of volunteers who staged this year's Youth Conservation Festival on Sept. 1.
It went pretty well, too, all things considered.
The event is staged annually for the purpose of introducing youngsters to hunting, fishing, shooting sports and archery. It is also an opportunity for area sportsmen's groups to participate in a youth activity and showcase activities promoted by their clubs.
Kim Fundingsland/MDN - - Brynlee Bryantt, 7, Burlington, peers out from inside a waterfowl blind at the recent Youth Conservation Festival. Several area sportsmen’s groups participated in the event held Sept. 1.
"It's good exposure for the clubs," said Greg Gullickson, North Dakota Game and Fish Department outreach biologist in Minot and organizer of the event. "Hopefully this gets a few more youth into the outdoors."
Flooding earlier this year forced the moving of the increasingly popular event from the Youth Conservation Skills Park at the North Dakota State Fairgrounds to an outdoor area adjacent to Maysa Arena. The normally green grounds at the fairgrounds site remained covered in silt and mud when it was time for this year's festival, so clubs made the Maysa site work as an alternative.
"Considering the flood and everything else, it was a good activity," Gullickson said. "We were close to 300 people, probably two-thirds of normal. It went good."
The event is usually promoted through the school system. However, because the school year was delayed by flooding, school was not yet in session when this year's Youth Conservation Festival was held. That meant somewhat less exposure among youth who might have attended, but the tradition of hosting the event continued.
"The reason we have that activity when we do is that all the youth seasons are opening up," Gullickson said. "There's a pile of opportunities out there for the youth."