Missoula, Mont. — Pack mules carrying hunters up the Las Vegas strip. Wall tents, campfires and meat poles in the palms beneath the Stratosphere. Elk wallowing in the fountains of Bellagio.
OK, maybe not.
But for three days in February, Las Vegas will indeed earn a new nickname as the Elk Hunting Capital of the World, as the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation brings its annual Elk Camp convention and expo to the Las Vegas Convention Center and Riviera Hotel.
The Feb. 2-4, 2012, event is new to Vegas. Several components of the convention and expo are being refashioned from years past. RMEF officials expect a fresh energy unlike any in Elk Camp history.
“We’re really looking forward to Las Vegas,” explained RMEF President and CEO David Allen, “because it’s a new market for us with plenty of local sportsmen and out-of-town visitors to enjoy our show. But Vegas is also a fun, world-class destination to help draw RMEF members, elk hunters and conservationists from across the U.S.”
He added, “Vegas is now home to the most important three days of the year for elk and elk country. The support we generate there will be crucial for our conservation initiatives in 2012.”
For 27 years, RMEF has relied on Elk Camp to build on previous momentum and set the tone for the year ahead. In 2011, following a spirited annual convention and expo in Reno, Nev., the organization passed the 6 million acre mark for habitat conserved and enhanced nationwide, supported elk restoration efforts in Maryland and Missouri, helped mitigate the effects of historic wildfires in Arizona, introduced thousands of youths to hunting and conservation, assisted with legal efforts to delist and manage wolves in the Rockies, and much more.
For 2012 Elk Camp attendees with full registration, event highlights will include:
- Exciting fundraising auctions, raffles and games. Win the hunt you’ve always dreamed about, as well as custom firearms, jewelry, sporting collectibles and much more.
- Gala banquets and outstanding entertainment. Headliners include hit country music artists Clint Black and Craig Morgan. Back by popular demand is a surprise entertainer for Volunteer Fun Night, sponsored by Hunters Specialties. Previous surprise acts have included Neal McCoy, Sawyer Brown and Easton Corbin.
- Don’t-miss events such as the Friends of the Foundation breakfast sponsored by Browning, featuring a fun Rat Pack tribute act; ladies luncheon with a “Hillbilly Bash” theme; prayer breakfast sponsored by FCA Outdoors, and much more.
- The biggest Elk Camp exhibit hall and expo in years. Attractions, displays and activities for the whole family, plus 450 booths filled with outfitted hunting and fishing opportunities, art, gear, firearms and everything elk. Also included are Cabela’s-sponsored seminars led by authorities on hunting, horse packing, marksmanship, wild game cooking, game calling strategies and more. America’s premier hunting, fishing and travel shows, International Sportsmen’s Expositions, is managing the exhibit hall and expo. For booth information, contact service@SportsExpos.com or 800-545-6100.
- As always, Elk Camp 2012 will feature the RMEF/Leupold World Elk Calling Championships. Preliminary rounds are Feb. 3; championship rounds are Feb. 4.
Full registration through Dec. 10 is $325 for per person. Partial registration is available. For more attendee registration info, visit www.rmef.org.
For public day-traffic to the expo, daily admission is $12 per person or $25 per family, and free for kids 5 and under. Show hours: Thurs., Feb. 2, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; Fri., Feb. 3, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 4, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Elk Camp sponsors include Midway USA, Gerber, Browning, Cabela’s, North American Hunter, Hunter’s Specialties, Leupold, Budweiser and Danner.
For more details, agendas and more information, visit www.rmef.org.