By Heather Fraley
Following extensive conversations among RMEF decision-makers, the 2020 RMEF Elk Camp has been cancelled due to circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes cancellation of the world elk calling championships. RMEF’s national convention was scheduled to take place in Park City, Utah, July 23rd to 26th, 2020. Instead, Elk Camp will return to Park City in July of 2021.
Not all is lost, though. As of this time (May 25th), the Total Archery Challenge (TAC) and the Mountain Festival are still scheduled to go forward in Park City in 2020. In contrast to much of Elk Camp, the entire Mountain Festival takes place outdoors. The ability to conduct outdoor activities will likely return much sooner than indoor activities under the current government orders, making this much more feasible.
RMEF is the presenting sponsor of the Mountain Festivals at all TAC events, so it will be there to support TAC in Park City. The live stage will be fired up during the day with entertainment and seminars. Films and evening entertainment will run on the Live Stage Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
A variety of factors contributed to the final decision to cancel Elk Camp. When the stay at home orders started to come down in March, it was hard to look out four months and predict what the world would look like in the midst of a growing pandemic. RMEF was scheduled to open registration the first week of April, and it soon became clear that wasn’t possible. RMEF also had to push more than 200 local banquets from March, April and May out to late June, July and August, meaning that many important elk camp attendees wouldn’t be able to join in.
“Elk Camp would not be Elk Camp without our volunteers and field staff attending, and we knew they would be busy this year doing banquets that were postponed from the spring,” says RMEF VP of marketing Steve Decker. “That in and of itself was a big enough factor to cancel Elk Camp.”
Piling on top of that, the facility is closed through June 1st. All planning and registration would have to be postponed until about six weeks out from the event.
“Elk Camp is one of the great RMEF traditions, and we feel the new format is the future, but trying to plan and execute the entire thing in under six weeks would not do the event or the organization the justice they deserve,” says Decker.
We look forward to seeing everyone at the Mountain Festival in 2020 and at Elk Camp and Mountain Festival in 2021. Visit www.rmef.org/elkcamp for continued updates.