The Colstrip Ducks Unlimited Chapter raises almost $48,000 a year at its annual dinner, despite having few waterfowl hunters in the area and a challenged economy. The event, known as the best party in town, is this Saturday, March 11, at the CPRD Gymnasium in Colstrip. Doors open at 5 p.m.

Weve had to work harder, but we are the biggest fundraiser of any kind in Colstrip, said Kathy Christian, co-chair of the Colstrip chapter. The community has been very supportive even though we have an adverse economy, and were not close to a waterfowl production area. Local farmers and ranchers also come to our events.

In this town of 2300 people, the dinner routinely brings in around 200 people. The Colstrip committee also puts on a spring sportsmans event, with about 175 attending.

There are not a lot of duck hunters in Colstrip, but we are a conservation-minded people, said Christian, who is also the Montana state chair. We are a small energy-related town, based on the mining of and burning of coal, but we are environmentally conscious. We want clean air and water too; we have our kids here.

The Colstrip committee is a diverse and tight group, ranging in age from 16 to 75, that includes students, teachers, engineers, power plant operators, coal miners and retirees. The committee also includes Steve Christian, past state chair and Kathys husband, and their son-in-law, Matt Shahan, who travels from North Dakota to help. The three have been chosen as Montana volunteers of the year for the past three years and have assisted other Montana chapters.

We make it fun. Committee members keep in touch all year, she said. We get together for summer barbeques that dont involve planning. Comradery is the key.

Contact Steve Christian for details at 406-740-1025.