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SHEEP WEEK® A Virtual Success


January 18, 2021
posted in: News

Bozeman, Montana. January 18, 2021. Wild sheep conservation received a critical boost in advocacy and funding with the first part of the Wild Sheep Foundation's total immersion virtual hunting and conservation expo, Sheep Week®, The Experience. 
 
The grand finale banquet and auction wrapped up this past Saturday evening, but the virtual exposition will remain online and accessible to attendees and exhibitors until February 16. The Foundation's annual convention was re-built into a virtual event because of the restrictions placed on large public gatherings.
 
"There are many reasons why we went virtual instead of canceling," said Gray N. Thornton, president and CEO of the Wild Sheep Foundation. "Most of all, we have an obligation to the wild sheep resources in North American and globally to keep the momentum of species population growth and health we have been able to achieve in the past two decades going strong."
 
The event annually helps raise millions of dollars for wild sheep conservation and habitat enhancement projects, which the Foundation directs to wildlife agencies and others doing this work.
 
"In my 30 plus years of building, hosting, and attending hunting and outdoor expos, I've never seen anything like this," Thornton explained. "Honestly, a week before making the platform live, we we're just hoping for the best. Then it just blew up with exhibitors wanting to get their booths built and thousands of attendees registering as fast as we could process their information."
 
Once logged into the platform, attendees are treated to five virtual exhibit halls with nearly 200 v-booths exhibiting everything from hunting adventures to sporting art, the latest gear and equipment, and opportunities to support other organizations' conservation efforts. This included WSF chapters and affiliates and state, provincial, tribal, and territorial wildlife agencies, both in North America and internationally. Attendees could also live chat with each other in the Bighorn chat lounge, and now until Feb.16, direct message with exhibitors.
 
"There were many ways to measure success," Thornton concluded. "Money raised for wild sheep being the most important, and we're crunching all those numbers now. Next to funding for me are the positive comments and conversations going on in the chat rooms. So many to choose from, but here are a few that hit home."
 
“WSF is leading the way during this most difficult time. ‘The Experience” is legit.” Dan Catlin, The Wildlife Gallery.
 
“Thank you, WSF staff, all the behind the scenes people, and every single Wild Sheep contributor for making this virtual "Experience" a reality. I've never been more proud to call myself a Sheep and Mountain Hunter and member of the Wild Sheep Family.” – Brian Spizig, senior guide, Yukon Stone Outfitters.

“I’ve done more business at Sheep Week than I’ve done at any show ever! Thank you WSF. – Chris Cammack, Prairie Mountain Interiors.

To access the virtual expo for unlimited sessions, and for a chance to win a Yukon Stone’s sheep hunt visit www.sheepweek.org.

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The Wild Sheep Foundation (WSF), based in Bozeman, Mont., was founded in 1977 by wild sheep conservationists and enthusiasts. With a membership of more than 8,500 worldwide, WSF is the premier advocate for wild sheep and other mountain wildlife and their habitats. WSF has raised and expended more than $135 million on wild sheep habitat and population enhancements, education, and conservation advocacy programs in North America, Europe, and Asia to “Put and Keep Wild Sheep On the Mountain”®. These and other efforts have increased bighorn sheep populations in North America from historic lows in the 1950-60s of 25,000 to more than 85,000 today. www.wildsheepfoundation.org.

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