Over 300 hunters, fishers, conservationists and supporters gathered at the Trail Memorial Centre for the 55th annual West Kootenay Big Game Trophy Association banquet last weekend.
The annual awards dinner recognizes accomplishments in the field, by both hunters and conservationists, and is an opportunity to socialize and admire the incredible mounts and displays of local taxidermists and businesses.
“It was a hugely successful event,” said Association president Mike Lerose. “The support from local businesses and the community in general was just amazing.”
George Roberts emceed the event and was later awarded the Pat Archibald trophy for service and dedication. The membership rifle draw went to a very deserving and long-time member Al Connel.
In the junior division Mat Thomas won the Grand Aggregate and top spot for his black bear that scored an impressive 19 15/16. Thomas also took first place for typical whitetail while Tyson Angerilli won for non-typical mule deer and Kam Sbitney took home first place for typical mule deer.
Matthew Dominici scored the largest Kootenay moose, Dawson den Biesen won first for Mountain Goat, and Jessica Critchlow took typical elk honours as well as the John Shannon Memorial for largest elk (274) in the junior division.
In the senior class Marty Thomas took home the Championship Cup and first place for his typical mule deer with a score of 184 2/8. Thomas also took home biggest stone sheep honours while Ryan McLaughlin won the Archery Award. Peter Eldridge won for black bear, Austin Peet took first place for largest grizzly, Gerald Merlo for Cougar, Don Miller won for typical whitetail, and John Urquhart Jr. for non-typical whitedeer.
Don Campbell was tops for typical elk, while Mike Rieberger won the George Commander award for largest elk and first place for his non-typical elk.
Mike Bartsoff won for northern moose, Rick Dominici for Kootenay moose, and Jillian McLean won the largest animal taken by a female award and first place for her wolf.