February 16 saw the Madison-Gallatin Chapter of Trout Unlimited (MGTU)’s 41st Annual Trout Fest Banquet and Fundraiser. The event, held at the Best Western GranTree Inn, celebrated 41 years of fundraising aimed at protecting and restoring Bozeman, Montana’s rivers. To quote the mission statement, the organization wants to conserve, protect and restore S.W. Montana’s coldwater fisheries and their watersheds.
According to Membership Chair Travis Morris, the organization is a local chapter under the State and National Trout Unlimited organization. Morris cites the organization’s vision statement, saying the organization’s vision is “[t]o ensure robust populations of native and wild coldwater fish once again thrive within S.W. Montana so that our children can enjoy healthy fisheries in their home waters.”
“MGTU’s Trout Fest banquet is a ‘fun-filled’ fundraiser,” said Morris. “Trout Fest is held each year and it is our sole effort to raise money each year for all the projects, donations, support that we do in regards to our Mission Statement.” This year’s event’s banquet chair was Rick Arnold.
The organization uses many different ways to get the word out about the event. “We use newspaper print, Constant Contact, posters hung around town and word of mouth,” said Morris. “We mail out to our membership first a letter letting them know that tickets are now available[.]”
Morris had only good things to say about how the fundraiser turned out. “The whole is event is awesome. Good food, good times and raise some really good money in one night,” he said. “We sold out to max capacity once again this year. There is always something little that doesn’t go quite as planned. This year was our 41st banquet and with the help of some of our long time volunteers the event goes without a hitch.”
Some of the advice Morris has for people planning a similar event includes having a good team behind you. “Put a lot of time aside for planning and make sure you have great people behind you,” he said. “It is not an easy thing to do. It is time consuming, hard work, frustrating at times, fun most of the time but when it is all said and done there is a sense of relief and pride.”
You can learn more about the Madison-Gallatin Chapter of Trout Unlimited at their website.