Attendees of the International Sportsmen’s Exposition (ISE) in Phoenix, Arizona along with online Internet viewers, witnessed the first auction event of it’s kind on Friday February, 24th, 2012 at the University of Phoenix Stadium. Hunting The Rez Magazine joint-ventured with eight tribes from throughout the U.S. and Canada to conduct an auction on the main floor of the ISE outdoor expo and trade show.
The eight tribes contributed 13 hunting and fishing adventure packages for the auction. Hunting packages contributed by the tribe’s Fish and Game Departments along with an outfitter from Alberta, Canada included hunts for elk, whitetail and mule deer, buffalo, antelope and black bear. A fishing vacation to the Blackfeet Nation near Glacier National Park in Montana was also auctioned off. The feature auction was a Rocky Mountain Bighorn ram from the Chippewa Cree Tribe’s Rocky Boy Reservation in north central Montana.
Overall, the auction resulted in $117,100 of revenue for the tribe’s Natural Recourse and Fish & Game Departments. Federal funding cuts have forced tribes to look into alternative revenue sources to help fund their tribal programs. “We’re working with several tribes to help them generate more revenue by marketing their fishing and hunting opportunities to a wider audience through events like this auction” said Jason Belcourt from Hunting The Rez Magazine. Jason also shared “the original idea was to facilitate an outdoor expo and auction event on our own, and invite all of the tribes that have hunting and fishing programs that allow non-tribally enrolled members to hunt and fish on their reservations to the event. We found out pretty quickly that conducting such an event on our own would be a near impossibility without having the experience and resources that it would have taken to make a successful event. It made more sense for us to form a relationship with an organization such as ISE that is well established in the outdoor expo market.”
Hunting The Rez Magazine co-owner James “Midge” The Boy also commented “next year’s event will have more than double the hunting and fishing packages. This was our first event and we believe that we have most of the kinks worked out to be able to have an even bigger and better event next year.”
Expo and auction attendees and the online viewers were also treated to a performance by Native American dancers in their traditional and contemporary dance regalia. The auction was scheduled to run from 3:00 to 6:00 PM. The auction’s fast pace held the event to about half the time allotted.
Hunting The Rez utilized new technology in offering online bidding for bidders who were unable to attend in person. Online bidding in the hunting, fishing and outdoor auction market is very new to the space and looks very promising for future auctions. Phone bidding was also offered to those interested in bidding on the hunting and fishing packages.