NILE banquet raises more than $20k for youth
Billings, MT–The NILE Foundation hosts Stetsons and Stilettos to raise money for Ag youth programs, the main focus being college scholarships. This year brought in over $20,000 to be allocated for supporting youth involved in agriculture.
Last Friday night the Northern Hotel ballroom was packed with 400 guests for the eighth annual event.
Donors who attended the dinner where able to see that their money was well spent, right in front of their eyes. Eight of the twenty scholarship recipients spoke eloquently in front of the crowd. Each one announced which school they are attending and what they planned on majoring in.
Special guest, Flint Rasmussen spoke about the beginning of his career as a rodeo clown emphasizing the importance of putting the time in to get to the top. “Success doesn’t happen immediately, you don’t get to perform in huge venues until you’ve performed in the rain, in a tiny, muddy arena first,” Rasmussen said.
He also asserted the importance of raising kids in the country. “They have to overcome adversity at an early age and it makes them better people,” Rasmussen commented after he praised his daughters for their accomplishments. His youngest daughter, Paige, was competing in the Montana Junior High Rodeo Association Finals that weekend which is part of the reason why Stetsons and Stilettos was able to have him as a guest speaker.
Co-emcee Russell Nemetez contended Rasmussen in a lip sync battle that engaged the crowd in wows and whistles.
Another popular auction item was a bronze sculpted and donated by rodeo judge, Bob Burkhart from Bozeman, MT.
Because this evening was focused on scholarships Stetsons and Stilettos added an element to the live auction to encourage the continued involved in the agriculture industry by having a scholarship recipient be a guest auctioneer. Roger Jacobs has been the auctioneer for Stetsons and Stilettos since the beginning, Friday night he gave up the block for three items to let scholarship recipient, Seth Kraft try out his auctioneer chant. Kraft is a 2014 recipient and attends MSU for Ag Business.
The silent auction boasted over 50 items that had some people guarding the bid sheets until the final call. Other activities that night were a whiskey tasting, jewelry raffle, watching artists transform a blank canvas to a completed piece by the end of the auction and socializing with other ag industry supporters.
The NILE Foundation would like to thank everyone involved and especially those who gave donations.