2018 AGM AND CONVENTION WRAP UP
The 49th Saskatchewan Trappers Association Annual General Meeting and Convention was held in Humboldt SK March 16 and 17, 2018. As I write this two days after it has completed, I am absolutely amazed by the Saskatchewan trapping community. Never in our history have we ever had a larger turnout. Last year was out largest ever with 222 people attending and this year those numbers grew to over 340!!! On behalf of the STA, I would like to thank everyone who attended, presented seminars and demonstrations, vendors and sponsors. This event cannot be held without you!!!
Friday seen the trade show start off at 9am followed by a lunch and into the Annual General Meeting (AGM). The AGM had a nice turnout, but we always can use more members there. Three resolutions were presented and all three passed. For the complete wording of the resolutions please visit www.saskatchewantrappers.com in the Convention section. As well a Constitutional Amendment was presented and passed. This Constitutional Amendment is very significant. It basically states that the Board of Directors can use conference calls the same as in person Board meetings. By using conference calls the Association will save thousands of dollars a year in travel, hotel and meal expenses. It is also much easier to take a couple hours to talk on the phone rather than take a couple days off to travel for meetings. With many Directors busy with families and work commitments, these calls allow the STA to conduct business as usual and in a timelier fashion.
The President, Directors, Administrator, and Education and Media Relations Coordinators all presented reports. All the Board remains very active and engaged in the trapping community. Director at large Vern Studer addressed the membership the last time as a Director. His son Mark Studer will replace him as the new Director at large for Regions 1, 2, 3 and 5. Thank you Vern for all your years of service and we wish you the best, and look forward to working with Mark.
To raise awareness to the public, a radio advertising campaign was undertaken. The 30 second radio add was played for all members to hear. Three radio and local newspaper interviews were also conducted during the Convention. As a side note, the interview that occurred on Saturday for Discover Humboldt was conducted by a reporter who had a definite negative slant to trapping. A lengthy discussion later netted a very positive article about trapping. I invite everyone to read it on the Saskatchewan Trappers Association Facebook page or on Discover Humboldt. It just goes to show that the truth is a powerful ally.
After the business at hand concluded, the floor was opened to the members to present ideas, concerns and issues. Many new ideas were discussed including the idea of erecting billboards along major Saskatchewan highways. Your Association is always listening and needs the members feedback and ideas.
Convention was held on Saturday and what a day it was!!! People from across the province flooded into the Uniplex until it was bursting at the seams. Nobody has ever seen a larger collection of Saskatchewan trappers in one place. Everyone was treated to a large cast of Saskatchewan furbearer mounts and skins that added a real trapping theme to the building. There were non-stop demonstrations, seminars and skinning. Saskatchewans newest furbearer, the cougar, stole the show with hundreds of people watched a great skinning presentation put on by Director Bill Zak and President Mike Keen. Past president Don Gordon showed the fine details on black bears with an absolute beauty of a bear finished. The day continued with demonstrations such as mink with Director Scott Blades, coyote Snaring with Garrett Tully, and a true trapping family, the Aicheles where mom, dad, two boys and a daughter all worked together to skin, flesh and board beaver and muskrats. Alberta’s own Gary Godberson presented two amazing seminars on muskrat trapping and another on bobcat and lynx trapping. Skill, perseverance, and even some humor highlighted Gary’s presentations. He is truly an amazing trapper in all aspects.
Around that the youth were kept busy with kids only activities such as fishing, marten box building and a BB gun shoot. The kids also had their own guess the weight contest. Adults guessed the weight of a beaver and the juniors guessed on a badger. Guesses were to the tenth of a pound and two juniors guessed the weight exactly. Around all the activities the kids were constantly running around and playing. Not a single electronic device was seen. Trapping is truly a great activity for kids of all ages.
And who can forget the ladies. There was a ladies only trap setting event….with a twist. Ladies had to set a #1 longspring and mousetraps and were given 2 rocks that they could use to snap their fellow competitors’ traps with. A full contact event ensued with everyone laughing and having a blast. The eventual winner received a beautiful pair of skunk gauntlets made from Saskatchewans own Trapline Creations.
A wonderful lunch was served and everyone was treated to a fashion show right out of the fanciest boardwalks in Paris or London. North American Fur Auctions graciously provided a wide selection of garments from world designers that took everyone’s breath away. Not to be outdone, Saskatchewans own furriers presented pieces that unless we were told, could not be differentiated from the world designer’s pieces. All our models were local trappers and family members with a special show from Gary Godberson. I think he missed his calling as a male model. We were even treated to a lovely little 4-year-old sweetheart who showed off a fur purse and a fox tail.
The McIntosh award was presented to Jesse Nokinsky, a school teacher who teaches his class trapping every year. Two Presidents Appreciation awards were presented to Jim Paul and Tom and Shirley Paul, both very worthy of these awards in their selfless dedication and volunteer work.
Mike Gollop from the Ministry of Environment attended both days and gave a speech from the governments point of view. Having the Ministry attend is a great way to keep lines of communication open and productive. Saskatchewan truly has remarkable people and ideas.
After our bellies were full and our eyes and ears captivated the 2nd Annual Coyote Speed Skinning Competition took place. Last year a local skinner shocked everyone by skinning a coyote in the fastest time ever in a competition, a blistering 2 minutes 6 seconds. He returned to defend his title and did not disappoint with a winning time of 2 minutes 14 seconds. A little slower than last year but still an amazing time. Dam Beaver Trapping Supplies and The Snare Shop again sponsored the event putting up an amazing $1000 cash to the top three skinners. Thank you so much for making this the premiere skinning competition in Canada.
With all the laughter, trapping tales, and fellowship it was hard to believe there was more happening. The annual wolf, fur and photo competitors also took place. This year seen a huge increase in entries and the judges were kept very busy grading well into the afternoon. Everyone’s friend Mel Stocking said that if you can win Saskatchewans fur competition you can win anywhere. That is a true testament to our provinces fur handlers as Mel travels to dozens of events a year. The creator of the Wolf Competition, Don Gordon won with a truly beautiful wolf, and truly stunning pictures earned ever gracious Laurie Sochaski the overall photo contest winner.
The trade show was larger than ever with vendors showing off trapping supplies, fur garments, amazing artwork and ATVs. Both Fur Harvesters and North American Fur Auctions were present to answer any questions about the markets and our skins. Its always a treat to speak with these great people.
The fun and frivolity carried over to the evening banquet. Extra tables were added to accommodate the growing number of people attending. Everyone feasted on stuffed pork loin and chicken with cream cheese and asparagus and all the trimmings. The kids were first up right after supper. The junior fur competition results and kids auction commenced. The kids auction is always fun as the bidding grows and the parents grow more restless as only the kids can bid. Following that the kids all ran off playing and swimming in the pool. Only at this trapping banquet does a kid walking into a ballroom dripping wet in a swim suit go unnoticed.
The evening progressed with adult fur competition awards being presented. Dozens of amazing fur handlers were awarded with Michel Forseille taking home the title as Grand Aggregate Winner. Congratulations on amazingly handled skins. Roger Towes from FHA and Mary Schellenberg from NAFA also gave speeches on the present state of the fur industry. The evening festivities kept going with the live auction. Lots of active bidding and good spirited laughter took place with many people donating their items to the runner up. A true act of unselfishness and kindness. One of a kind collector pieces fetched top dollar as well and all in all a fun time. The merriment continued well into the evening in the hotel hospitality room.
A trapper I respect and look up to once told me “Success breeds success”. For years, the Saskatchewan Trappers Association AGM and Convention has been growing and more people attending. A time will come when we have grown as much as we can but I don’t think that point has been reached yet. Saskatchewan Trappers are a lively bunch and never stop surprising me with their remarkable attitudes and enthusiasm. We will continue to grow and prosper as a group and I personally hope to be there for the ride as long as possible. Thank you to everyone who made this possible. Ryan Demchynski Media Relations Coordinator for our Saskatchewan Trappers Association.
Please note: Resolution #3 has been recinded by the STA Board and will not be voted upon at the AGM