It began as a mid-winter event for men to swap hunting and fishing stories. Six years later — or maybe seven; organizer Rick Paulsrud isn’t quite sure — it’s still an opportunity for storytelling and a potluck with items featuring fish and game.
The “men only” part didn’t stick, however.
“It started out just for men, but the ladies wanted to be involved, too,” said Rick Paulsrud. “It’s turned into everybody and it’s fun. We’re glad it is what it is now.”
Last year more than 200 people attended the event sponsored by the Greatland Worship Center in Anchor Point. This year’s event will be held Saturday at the Chapman School gym beginning at 5:30 p.m. Admission is free, with the public asked to bring a dish to the potluck-style event.
“People bring a wild fish or game dish to be shared and around 6 p.m. we say grace and everyone gets a plate of food and we have a guest speaker,” said Paulsrud.
This year’s guest speaker is Steve Chapman, an outdoorsman, author and musician from Tennessee.
“I had been to one of his concerts several years ago in Kenai and my wife got me one of the books he’d written for Christmas last year,” said Paulsrud.
“I was trying to think of a guest speaker and was reading his book and wondered if he’d come to our small town event. He agreed to come and that’s great.”
Among Chapman’s many books are “365 Things Every Hunter Should Know,” the “A Look at Life from a Deer Stand” devotional, and a collection of inspiring events in “Great Hunting Stories.”
“He draws from his own experiences and does a multi-media presentation using his acoustic guitar and audience participation,” said Paulsrud. “He talks about the therapeutic value in solitude, of being in the out-of-doors, of forming friendships and the benefits of being a hunter, how it provides a dad with the opportunity to bond with his sons and daughters and can make a man a better husband.”
The banquet also offers the stage for sharing more local events, like the bear-hunting story Duane Christensen shared last year, and an opportunity for hunters and fishers to show off their culinary skills.
“We get all kinds of interesting things. One of the more exotic things we’ve had was lynx, fixed in a casserole-type thing. It tasted really good. Kind of sweet,” said Paulsrud.
“Mostly we get moose and halibut, and sometimes caribou and sheep. This year I hear someone is going to bring buffalo.”
Everyone is asked to vote for a favorite dish, with the winner receiving a $50 Kachemak Gear Shed gift certificate.
Including women in the event helps broaden the food offerings.
“In our family, I will be the one fixing the dish, probably moose stroganoff,” said Paulsrud’s wife, Lori.
As in past years, an auction of items donated by area businesses is part of the program. This year’s includes a black powder revolver donated by Kachemak Gear Shed.
“Tickets (for the revolver) are $5 each and available just at the dinner,” said Paulsrud.
The main raffle of the evening is a “wall of guns” provided by Sportsman’s Warehouse in Soldotna. Ticket are $10 each, with 600 tickets and six drawings.
“Every time we reach 100 tickets sold, we pull a winner and then just start over again,” said Paulsrud.
Raffle proceeds benefit the Anchor Point Food Bank.
“That’s another thing we’re asking people, although it’s not required, is to bring a canned food donation for the food bank,” said Paulsrud.
Last year Brent Adcox, an orthopedic surgeon in Homer, donated $2,000 of gear as prizes for attendees 18 years old and younger. He has offered to do it again this year.
“It’s not a raffle,” said Lori Paulsrud. “All the kids names are entered and we draw names until the prizes run out.”
One of the items will be a Genesis bow, in keeping with those donated by the bow-making company for the banquet the past two years.
“We’ve started an archery program and those are the bows we use,” said Lori Paulsrud. “One of the kids that comes will get a bow and be able to be in the archery program.”
The program, “Center Shot,” offers a four-week, 11-step archery class that is open to youth and adults.
Past banquets also have included storytelling competitions. Other competitions include game-calling.
“The best was the halibut call,” said Paulsrud, leaving to the imagination how that might sound.
The banquet wraps up with a grand-prize drawing for three different winners: $100 gift cards to Sportsman’s Warehouse.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sponsored by: Greatland Worship Center
Where: Chapman School, Anchor Point
When: Doors open 5:30 p.m. Saturday
Admission: Free; bring a dish to share made with wild fish or game and an item for the Anchor Point Food Pantry.
Banquet includes: Presentation by author and outdoorsman Steve Chapman; raffles for adults; drawings for youth items.