Sizzlin’ S of Montana raises $10k for Nebraska ranchers
After seeing the outpouring of support for his community following the 2017 Lodgepole Fire, Rod Paschke of Jordon, Mont., knew he had to do something for Nebraska ranchers devastated by flooding.
“That fire didn’t affect us personally. It came to within about 20 miles of our property line,” he said. Paschke’s wife Julie helped manage donations that poured in: lining up hay deliveries, helping arrange moving cattle, making sandwiches for volunteers. “We got to witness it firsthand. It was pretty devastating, but the stuff we saw, people shipping hay from Nebraska, Wyoming, it was coming in steady. It was really memorable for us.”
Rod and Julie, who ranch and operate an outfitting business, were in agreement that they ought to contribute in some way to their Nebraska ranching friends. He was thinking of writing a check but was hoping he could do more, somehow.
“My wife said, ‘can we raffle a hunt?’ and she had the idea planned out in no time.”
Sizzlin’ S Outfitters offered 100 online “raffle” tickets at $100 each, hoping to raise $10,000 quickly. Julie arranged the raffle with a little help from a Nebraska friend whose family runs a custom combining business. The friend, Tracy Zeorian, also runs her own online business, so she helped set up the ticket purchasing details.
Paschke said many neighbors who had been on the receiving end of donations following the Lodgepole Fire were the first to buy a ticket. But tickets also went to people from the Carolinas, Virginia, Pennsylvania, California and many more states.
The Paschkes posted their raffle on Facebook at about 5 p.m. on a Friday and by the next Tuesday, the raffle tickets were all spoken for. Eastman’s Hunting Journal promoted the raffle via their social media, reaching some people that the Paschkes may not have on their own.
Robert Schwier won the raffle. The farmer and rancher from Minnesota will enjoy a five-day all-inclusive trophy mule deer hunt. Paschke is throwing in the $700 tag as well.
“It’s all for the right cause, that’s the best part.” He said the $10,000 is going to the Nebraska Cattlemen’s disaster program. “They can do what they want, they can disperse as it needs dispersed. I realize it’s a drop in the bucket to the disaster down there, but it’s what we could do.”
Paschke appreciates Julie for her role in the fundraiser. “She did a heck of a job setting it up. I get to do the fun part — guiding the hunter.” ❖
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.