After just completing its second successful charity hunt, the Wyoming Women's Antelope Hunt continues to lead the way as the first event of its kind for women, with many of the women receiving achievement awards, improving hunting skills and growing their connections.

The hunt was held Oct. 9-12, 2014 at the Ranch at Ucross, located 17 miles northeast of Buffalo, Wyoming. The hunt, developed by the Wyoming Women's Foundation, celebrates women's hunting as a platform to promote camaraderie and mentorship. Funds raised through the hunt and its activities will help the foundation improve economic self-sufficiency of women in the state.

"The outpouring of support from the numerous sponsors, local landowners, volunteers and guides for helping women to learn how to hunt continues to be amazing," said Shelley Simonton, co-chair of the hunt committee. "We are very appreciative of everyone's help in pulling off our second successful hunt. Our hunt goes beyond teaching hunting skills to women and focuses on mentorship and building connections that will last a lifetime."

Thirty-two hunters came from across Wyoming and the nation to participate, including prominent leaders like Wyoming Supreme Court Justice Marilyn Kite, who helped found the hunt. Special guests included Ms. Wheelchair USA Ashlee Lundvall, of Cody, Wyoming, and Stacey Huston of Meeteetse, Wyoming, with the Women's Outdoor News (WON). Of the total hunters, 30 harvested an antelope.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department helps hunters sight-in their rifles. Roxanne Garaventa, of Cheyenne, Wyo., watches as her sister Rhonda Garaventa, of Eureka, Nevada, (who received the Theodore Roosevelt Award) aims.

The Wyoming Women's Antelope Hunt also encourages mentorship and hunter safety. During the event, the majority of hunters were assigned to two-person teams led by a guide, hunting on private and public land. To encourage mentorship through hunting, more experienced hunters were often paired with women who had little experience with hunting. Additionally, the Wyoming Game and Fish Department helped participants focus on hunting ethics and safety. On the first afternoon of the hunt, Game and Fish staff reviewed hunting safety and regulations with the hunters, followed by a session with experts at the nearby range on how to properly sight-in their rifles.

Once hunters filled their tags, they could participate in several different activities, including lessons on shooting sporting clays by Game and Fish, cooking and processing classes by Walt and Kim Gasson, and fly fishing by Joey's Fly Fishing out of Sheridan.

Because of the generous sponsors, the hunt was able to offer 14 scholarships that allowed women to participate. Major sponsors included the Warren Ranch, the Merlin Ranch, Smith & Wesson, Anadarko, Bar 6 Bar Ranch, Groathouse Construction, Inc., Cabela's, BP, Cyclone Drilling, Apache, Outlaw Inn in Rock Springs, and Jim Nelson.

The hunt could not be done without the participation of local landowners who allowed access on their properties, including Gary Grubb, C Bar B Ranch; Garry Packard, Packard Ranch; the Honorable Mark and Jennie Gordon, Merlin Ranch; Mr. & Mrs. Wayne Nelson, Cross H Ranch; Mick McMurry, Bar 6 Bar Ranch; Eric and Vickie Wilhelm; Dan Lawrence, Clear Creek Ranch; Michael Rodriguez, Rodriguez Ranch; Lloyd, Daniel and Luke Underwood, Middle Ucross Ranch; Dave and Lisa Belus, Belus Ranch; Mr. and Mrs. Steve Adami, Adami Ranch; Mr. and Mrs. Phil Little, Little Ranch; Ucross Outfitters LLC; Ted and Judie Blair, Blair Hotels; Dennis O'Dea, O'Dea Ranch; Dr. Ray and Mrs. Johnson, Sense of Place Ranch; Victoria Station; Larry and Jean Vignaroli; Mr. and Mrs. Mike Ellenwood, Ellenwood Ranch; Dave Sorensen; and Phil Wohlbrandt.

Working with the Boone and Crockett Club, the oldest wildlife conservation organization in North America founded in 1887 by Theodore Roosevelt and George Bird Grinnell, the Wyoming Women's Antelope Hunt has structured its awards to adhere to the core principles of conservation and hunting ethics. This year's award recipients are below.

Diana Award Winners

Presented to all first-time big game hunters who fill their tag, this award honors the spirit of Diana, the Roman goddess of the hunt.
• Maria Anselmi - Jackson, Wyo.
• Erin Berst - Casper, Wyo.
• Sarah DePaolo - Laramie, Wyo.
• Jill Hambley - South Hadley, Mass.
• Lisa Houghton - Katy, Texas
• Jodee Pring - Cheyenne, Wyo.
• Diane Sagan - Rawlins, Wyo.
• Ann Stebner Steele - Laramie, Wyo.
• Josephine Stratton - Rawlins, Wyo.
• Christie Wildcat - Riverton, Wyo.

Annie Oakley Award Winners
Presented to hunters who harvest their antelope with one shot, this award honors the spirit of ethical hunting, the tenets of fair chase, and the technical skill of its namesake.
• Rose Anne Million Rinne - Cheyenne, Wyo.
• Maria Anselmi - Jackson, Wyo.
• Desarae Berry - Gillette, Wyo.
• Jessica Crowder - Cheyenne, Wyo.
• Sarah DePaolo - Laramie, Wyo.
• Roxanne Garaventa - Cheyenne, Wyo.

Ann Stebner Steele and Indy Burke, both of Laramie, Wyo., patiently wait out the antelope very early in morning on the Packard Ranch with their guide Mason.
• Jill Hambley - South Hadley, Mass.
• Stacey Huston - Meeteetse, Wyo.
• Kelli Jones - Cheyenne, Wyo.
• Debra Padden - Andover, N.Y.
• Melissa Percy - Gillette, Wyo.
• Shelley Simonton - Jackson, Wyo.

Super Stalker Award
The Super Stalker Award is presented to the individual who takes her animal in one shot at the closest distance. Jessica Crowder, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, harvested her animal from the closest distance at 40 yards.

Theodore Roosevelt Award
Rhonda Garaventa, of Eureka, Nevada, received the Theodore Roosevelt Award, which is sponsored by the Boone and Crockett Club. This award celebrates the type of personal character Theodore Roosevelt held in highest regard - an adventurous spirit, determination, self-reliance, and the need to give back more than that taken - all he believed defined what was inside every true sportsman and sportswoman. Voted on by the guides, this award is given to the participant that had the fortitude to keep trying, and hung tough - win, lose, or draw.

Team Award

Merlin Ranch Team: (L-R) Jessica Crowder,of Cheyenne, Wyo.; Jennie Muir-Gordon, of Buffalo, Wyo.; and Shelley Simonton, of Jackson, Wyo.
The Merlin Ranch received the winning team award. Under this award, the corporate team with the closest average shot distance and all team members harvest an animal. Team members were Jessica Crowder, of Cheyenne, Wyoming, who shot at 40 yards; Jennie Muir-Gordon, of Buffalo, Wyoming, who shot at 44 yards; and Shelley Simonton, of Jackson, Wyoming, who shot at 140 yards. Crowder also received the Super Stalker Award. The Merlin Ranch, owned by State Treasurer Mark Gordon and his wife Jennie Gordon, is located near Buffalo, Wyoming.

About the Wyoming Women's Antelope Hunt
The Wyoming Women's Antelope Hunt, developed by the Wyoming Women's Foundation, celebrates women's hunting as a platform to promote camaraderie and mentorship. The event helps raise funds for the organization's mission of supporting economic self-sufficiency for women across Wyoming. The hunt took place Oct 9-12, 2014 at the Ranch at Ucross in northeast Wyoming. To learn more, visit

About the Wyoming Women's Foundation
The Wyoming Women's Foundation invests in the economic self-sufficiency of women and the future of girls. The Foundation builds on a permanent endowment that will ensure funding to enhance the lives of women and girls in Wyoming for generations to come. It makes grants to Wyoming organizations that help women and girls attain economic self-sufficiency, creates statewide awareness of the barriers to economic self-sufficiency, and supports systems change to eliminate those barriers. Since its inception in 1999, the foundation has invested $700,000 into more than 100 organizations. The Wyoming Women's Foundation is a component fund of the Wyoming Community Foundation. Learn more at

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