The pheasant season opener in North Dakota is a tradition second-only to the deer season opener.
This year in Zeeland, what began with an idea by two brothers to host a wounded warrior on a pheasant hunt, has evolved into a full-blown party that will benefit the Wounded Warriors Family group.
Darrel Wolf of Zeeland said the Oct. 12 event will include the hunt all right, but it has snowballed into a pig roast and banquet, concert, trap shoot and more.
Wolf is the owner of Odor Medicine, a company that sells odor removal products. Wolf said the idea by him and his brother Allen was to invite Rusty Ouart, a wounded Iraqi war veteran and two others to a pheasant hunt on their farm near Zeeland.
He said once word got out, his phone started ringing almost non-stop. “My brother and I just wanted to take them pheasant hunting,” Wolf said. “But it’s grown bigger and bigger ... we are going to have to do this every year.”
Ouart sustained a traumatic brain injury in a 2008 mortar attack in Iraq. Ouart wrote a song “Wounded Warrior” that was recorded by Michael Lusk, a member of country music legend Loretta Lynn’s band for the past 15 years.
Wolf said Lusk, along with Lure Records of Nashville, agreed to come to Zeeland to perform a concert that night. He will also be launching his new CD at the event.
Lusk also will be bringing a guitar custom made for Lynn, autographed by her, Randy Travis and others.
Only 300 raffle tickets will be sold for the guitar with all proceeds from the raffle and event going to the Wounded Warrior Family organization, Wolf said.
He said BNSF Railroad confirmed Friday they will donate $10,000 to the group at the event.
“People kept calling us,” he said Friday. Kimble’s Gun and Repair in Linton offered to set up a trap shoot for the afternoon, Wolf said, and a local farmer offered to provide a new 870 Remington as the top prize.
Wolf said another farmer offered to provide a couple pigs for a roast through the local fire department and Busta Grooove, a DJ from Napoleon, offered to provide his service free.
The hunt starts at 8 a.m., the trap shoot at 1 p.m. and the concert, being billed as the “Freedom Concert,” starts at 7 p.m.
Raffle tickets for the guitar are $30, tickets for the concert are $20 and can be purchased online at http://stopsmellnow.com/Wounded_Warriors_Family.php. or at the event.
Wolf said he is amazed that what began as a simple idea to say thank-you to wounded veterans has turned into something much bigger.
“We’ve had so many people call and say ‘we want to help,’” Wolf said.
“We have so many neat things going on. It just kind of snowballed.”