2017 Ringneck Festival title holders are ...

HURON — After finishing second in 2016, the Six Shooters improved one spot to win the 2017 Ringneck Festival title on Saturday.
Hunting on land owned by Ernst Baruth and sons of Alpena, the Six Shooters harvested a limit of 18 pheasants with four of its alotted 24 shells remaining. Members of the winning team were John Wood of Alma, Ark.; John Fox of Lavaca, Ark.; Allen King of Kinta, Okla.; Steve Hunst of Greenwood, Ark.; George Moscher of Fort Smith, Ark.; and Stephen Wasko of Mountainburg, Ark.
Wood, Fox, Moschner and Wasko all went 3-for-3 during the hunt to earn the Triple Shot Bonus for the Six Shooters.
Four of the six team members for the Six Shooters have participated in the Ringneck Festival for 10 years. While the Baruths have donated land for the Ringneck Festival for 16 years.
Second-place went to Fly-n-Gun, which also harvested 18 roosters but had just two shells remaining, Members of the team, which hunted on land owned by Reg and John Derksen of Huron, were Mark Hillman of Menomonie, Wis.; Jeremy Hoyt of Menomonie, Wis.; Craig Steinbach of Thorp, Wis.; Matt Biesterveld of Alma, Wis.; Dan Cathcart of Carpenter, Wis.; and Ernest Vigil of Cheyenne, Wis.
Triple Shot Bonuses were earned by Vigil, Hillman and Cathcart.
Team Kate, which won the 2016 Ringneck Festival title, was third this season with 18 birds harvested and no shells remaining. They hunted on land owned by Jim and Kathy Olsen of Hitchcock.
Members of Team Kate were Chuck Schuelke of Willow Lake; Pete Schuelke of Ringsted, Iowa; David Bleeker of Watertown; Tim Tesch of Watertown; Jon Dagel of Florence; and Armon Zens of Redfield.
The Reasonable Stud Fee team was fourth with 17 birds harvested and no shells remaining, hunting on land owned by Todd and Jolyn Hofer of Doland.
Members of the team were Kent Shelton of Huron; Kevin Soward of Huron; Mike Bartholow of Cavour; Jason Weber of Wessington Springs; Jim Winegar of Huron; and Jeff Luce of Wolsey.
Rounding out the top five in the 24-team competition was Henry’s Loose Canons, who also had 17 birds with no shells remaining, but lost a tie-breaker based on the weight of birds harvested (45.86 to 43.29).
Members of Henry’s Loose Cannons were Rick Nelson of Henry; Jeff Schooel of Henry; Tom Wookey of Clark; John Heber of Redfield; Mark Mayward of Watertown; and Rick Stone of Watertown.
Hall of Fame
A pair of long-time landowners and a volunteer scorekeeper were inducted into the RLB’s Ringneck Festival Hall of Fame on Saturday night.
Both landowners have donated the use of their land to the Ringneck Festival for the past 18 years and have both been instrumental in the success of the event.
DJ, Chisum and Payton Hofer of Yale are third generation farmers living on the family farm. They run a cow-calf operation, along with doing custom hay grinding. Each year they are one of the first to commit when letters are sent asking once again for use of their land. The boys have grown up in the Ringneck Festival family and have made friendships with numerous teams over the years.
Also inducted as landowners were Greg and Bobbie Ward of  Iroquois, who have enjoyed meeting and hosting new hunters every year. They have farmed in the Iroquois area for more than 40 years, living on the same homestead that Greg grew up on.
Joining the landowners as a 2017 inductee was John Farrell of Sanborn, Iowa, who has been a volunteer scorekeeper for 10 years and has volunteered for the Bird Dog Challenge four times. He willingly gives up one day of his hunting license to be in the field as scorekeeper and has encouraged four other members of his family to become scorekeepers.
In 2016, when the Ringneck Festival committee announced the beginning of the scholarship program for volunteers and their families, Farrell donated a new gun, which was then auctioned off to help raise funds for the program. The gun was auctioned for $1,200 to bring the total funds raised for the scholarship program to $3,500, which provided seven scholarships.
Farrell is an avid sportsman, who is very devoted to the promotion of youth outdoor activities near his hometown.
A silent auction, which included items donated by the participating teams in the 2017 Ringneck Festival, garnered a total of $2,685 at this year’s event for the scholarship program.
The 2018 Ringneck Festival, which will be the 21st installment, is scheduled to be held Nov. 9-10. The Bird Dog Challenge will be Nov. 8-9.


Six Shooters with team members from Arkansas and Oklahoma won the 2017 Ringneck Festival title on Saturday, hunting on land owned by Ernest Baruth and sons of Alpena. Team members included John Wood of Alma, Ark., John Fox of Lavaca, Ark., Allen King of Kinta, Okla., Steve Hunst of Greenwood, Ark., George Moshcer of Fort Smith, Ark. and Stephen Wasko of Mountainburg, Ark.

Photo by Mike Carroll/Plainsman

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