Annual Campout Under the Stars & Silent Auction

Annual Campout Under the Stars & Silent Auction

August 19-20, 2017

Yaeger Lake, Flying M Ranch

The Annual Campout Under the Stars might be our “least educational” event, but it can also be our most. As our largest social gathering of the year, attendees have a welcoming opportunity to meet new folks, connect with old friends, and learn what our mission means when it says that our goal is to, “. . . promote the social, biological, and economic sustainability of the 426,000 acres . . .”

This year the Campout was held on August 19-20, at Yaeger Lake on the Flying M Ranch. We had both a record turn-out, and record donations: 63 attendees and over $1,500.00. The money was raised through both our usual donation jar and the silent auction - not a regular occurrence at the Campout, but certainly one we’re going to do again in the future!

The crew weeding down at the corrals before dinner.
Photo by Molly McCormick

The day started with the first attendees arriving around noon. Some folks stayed at the ‘kitchen’ area to help set up tables and tents, all brought in by attendees, but most of the group headed down to the corrals to help Kit do some much-needed weeding and fencing work. It wasn’t the most organized of work days, but by the time everyone got back up to the kitchen area they felt accomplished and ready for the potluck!

The spread of food seemed to never end: chips and salsa, a seven-layer bean dip, coleslaws, salads with fresh garden lettuce, corn muffins, cherry tomatoes (“momatoes,” as one toddler attendee called them), roasted corn-on-the-cob, black bean salad . . . and, as usual, the main course was burgers made from Bar T Bar beef. The burgers were prepared and cooked by Bob and Judy Prosser, Suze Maci, Kit Metzger, Stephen Williams, and others. Dinner was rounded off nicely with a spectacular dessert spread of pies, cakes, cookies, brownies, and fruit. While some brought their own drinks, three kegs were also donated by Mother Road Brewery (we apologize for not putting them on ice right away!), and all dining-ware was reusable and loaned to us by the Friends of Flagstaff’s Future. We are very thankful for everyone’s time and energy to prepare such a delicious meal!

Bob Prosser (Bar T Bar) manning the grill of burgers and corn. Photo by Scott Thybony

The Silent Auction also went well. You can see the list of donors and items here. Based on a post-event survey, the top five items were the ‘Fishing Trip’ package from Sportsman’s Warehouse and Canyon Diablo Spirits, the margarita mix basket from Canyon Diablo Spirits, the coffee package from Late for the Train, the cot and 4-person dome tent from Cabela’s, and the beautiful Flippin’ For a Crowd painting by Marsha S. Owen. Her painting was of Kit Metzger, Jack Metzger, and Stephen Williams making pancakes over the fire at our 2008 campout, at Ashurst Run.

Suze Manci, Coconino County teacher and Summer Agricultural Institute participant, speaking to the crowd. Photo by Jeremy D. Krones

The evening's presentations were short. Jeremy, Diablo Trust Program Manager, led the group in the traditional Diablo Trust round-table introductions, read out the winners of the silent auction, and drew door-prize winners with the help of Jonah, the youngest attendee (3 years old!). Kit Metzger also spoke about the history of the ranch and the area on which we were camping.

The featured presenter was Suze Manci, a teacher in Flagstaff who participated in this year's Summer Agricultural Institute. In April 2017, Diablo Trust raised over $1,000 for the program, to help reimburse the three Coconino County teachers who particiated in the program and to support the program going forward. The other two teachers, Michelle Weidinger and Marsha Reynolds, will present at the Diablo Trust Annual Meeting in February.

Kit Metzger, Flying M Ranch, checking her gravy on the fire. Photo by Scott Thybony

Most attendees stayed the nights, setting up their campers, tents, or bedrolls around Yaeger pasture. This year we unfortunately traded our trees for rocks, so it wasn’t the most comfortable sleeping setting, but the views were amazing. With only a few spots of rain in the early morning, those of us who slept by the fire fared pretty well!

Jim Parks, the Coconino County Supervisor for District 4 (where the ranches are located) put the coffee on the fire early, and provided some sunrise entertainment with his fiddle. (You can 'get to know' Supervisor Parks here.) Breakfast was the ‘usual’ spread: biscuits and gravy made by Kit Metzger, Judy Prosser, and their crews; eggs by Norm and Gail Lowe; and a smattering of other dishes made anew or brought out from the night before.

Everyone departed for town by 10:00AM on Sunday, all with smiles on their faces and plenty of positive words for future Campouts.

And for those who suggested we have more than one Campout a year . . . keep your eyes on the calendar for the 2018 schedule!

Check back soon for a full photo album!