The Missouri Trappers Association had their 2017 Annual Fall Rendezvous on September 15th thru 17th in Cape Girardeau, Missouri. It was a weekend full of fun and activities. There were trapping demonstrations from trappers like Tommy Alexander who showed tips on beaver trapping, Bart Hiller on coyote, Kendall Obermeier of No BS Lures on raccoon and mink, Mike Fisher on grey fox, Justin Elliot on bobcat, Cletis Richards of Apple Road Baits on gland collecting and Clay Creech on muskrat trapping. Friday night was the fish supper, the MTA awards ceremony, and the Bob Whitworth Memorial Washer Tournament.
Justin Elliott receiving the President's Award
Gary House receiving the Trapper of the Year Award
Saturday got under way with trapping demo's from Cletis Richards of Apple Road Baits giving pointers on coyote trapping. Robbie Page showed the different aspects on trap modifications. Rick Hemseth of R&M Lures showed the art of gland collecting for profit. Tom Westhoff showed off his methods for trapping bobcats. Otter trapping methods were presented by Clay Creech. Mink trapping was presented by Tim Wilson, and Tommy Alexander showed the art of raccoon trapping without the use of dog-proof traps. Fur Harvesters performed fur handling and grading demonstrations throughout the day. There was archery shooting for the kids, trap setting contests for men, women, and kids and there was a skillet toss for the women.
Rick Hemseth of R&M Lures from Iowa given an Appreciation Award
Darrell and Carolyn Marak of Marak Lures from Iowa given an Appreciation Award
Later that afternoon the MTA General Meeting got underway. It was an election year and the winner of President went to Clay Creech, Vice President went to Randy Adey, Secretary went to Bob Scarlet, Treasurer went to Ann Scarlett, Conservation Director went to Kenny Wells, and the NTA Director went to Rick Friedrich. The new officers terms take over on October 1st.
Doren and Lynn Miller of Miller Fur Company given an Appreciation Award
Tommy Alexander inducted into the Hall of Fame
There were a few things that were talked about and voted on at the meeting, such as the MTA will be hosting the National Trappers Association Convention in 2019 in Springfield, Missouri. This event will take a lot of work, so there will be much help needed. There will more information as the time approaches for the work to begin. While I'm on the subject of conventions, the MTA will be changing the order in which the Fall Rendezvous will be scheduled. The way it has been, is that the Rendezvous was held north for several years and then in the south for several years. This has caused some people to have to drive long distances each year in order to attend the event. The way it will be in the future is that the event will be in a district within the north half of the state one year then in a district within the southern half of the state the next year. We believe that this will give more people the opportunity to come without having to drive four hours or more every year.
Robbie Page received the Ray Brudigam Memorial Leadership Award
There was much discussion on how we can get more members to attend the Spring Meeting. The last two years there hasn't been enough members to attend to have an "official" meeting as we must have at least 40 members to make a quorum. There hasn't been near that many that have attended. For a possible solution, the membership voted and approved to have the Spring Meeting in the central part of the State and to be selected by the President.
Upon further looking into a few small details, it was discussed and voted on by the general membership that we sponsor Miss Missouri Rodeo in the same way that we sponsor Miss Missouri in which we award them a fur vest each year. We also supply them with their autograph cards in which the Association name is printed on the back. This is good PR as it will get our name and cause out there to a lot of people. This proposal passed.
Justin Elliott proudly shows off his Dilapidated Trapper Award
Not Pictured: Carl Cook of District 3 received the Director of the Year Award
The Scholarship Committee awarded two recipients the Ed and Alta Graff Memorial Scholarship this year. The scholarship is for those pursuing a career in any wildlife field, such as wildlife management, furbearer management, wildlife biology, or law enforcement. They may reapply every year as long as they are still studying these fields. Blake Koelling of Jefferson City, was awarded one of the $500 scholarships. He is a senior at Missouri Western majoring in Wildlife Conservation and Management. The other scholarship of $500 was awarded to Taylor Markway, also from Jefferson City. She is a junior at the University of Missouri in Columbia, majoring in Fisheries and Wildlife with an emphasis in Terrestrial Animal Management. Both individuals and their family members are MTA members.
The evening ended with the MTA live auction in which Kevin Whitworth was the auctioneer and several things were auctioned off as a fundraiser for the association. The next morning we had Sunday morning services in which our Chaplain, Tim Wilson gave an inspiring sermon. All in all it was a great weekend and I hope that everyone will have the opportunity to make it next year.