By Robert Lucke
About 25 former NFL players, legends really, want to see what the beautiful Bear Paw Mountains are all about. Not only that but they want to tour Havre Beneath the Streets, the Railroad Museum and maybe shoot a pheasant along the way.
Because of that, the Legends for Lights Pheasant Jamboree was born. Tom Reynolds, Montana State University-Northern Foundation director takes up the story.
"the whole idea is an idea that came from Mike Tilleman, who is an NFLer. He goes around the country to celebrity golf tournaments and friends of his have asked him about this Lewis and Clark business," Reynolds said. "Those people asked him why Montana doesn't put on something because they would like to see this part of Montana and shoot a pheasant while they are here."
Reynolds, Tilleman and a group of Havre community leaders talked about the idea and decided to invite at least 25 former NFL players to come to Havre.
Twenty-five teams will be hunting pheasants as far east as Saco. Along with that will be a trap shoot, several dinners where celebrities can meet community members. It will tie into the Northern Homecoming activities later in the week.
It all starts the morning of Oct. 16 with an open shoot at the Trap Club. Later there is a shooting clinic and demonstration, then a trap shoot competition. A social hour will be held at the Duck Inn that evening were folks can meet NFL players, collect autographs and have them sign T-shirts.
On Oct. 17, there will be an open hunt followed by a community barbecue at the Ice Dome in Havre.
Oct. 18th will include the contest hunt followed by the Pheasants Forever annual banquet and auction at the Ice Dome.
Activities on Oct. 19 include a golf tournament.
The actual pheasant shoot will include people from the community as well as former NFL stars.
"We will have 25 teams," Reynolds said. "There will be five people on each team. There will be a host of each team. That person will provide the land to hunt on, transportation and a dog. There will be an NFL legend on each team along with three other hunters. Each team will only have four shooters. The host will not shoot."
If that wasn't enough to do during the week, the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway is bringing two train cars in for the week and raffling off tickets for eight people to have dinner in the railroad dining car.
The NFL legends will be paying their own way out to Havre and back. Money raised by the activities will benefit Havre groups. Portions of the proceeds will go to the Lights football team, Havre Youth Hockey, Pheasants Forever and the Havre Trap Club.
"The whole thing is to try to take Havre and the Hi-Line and show them off, to advertise them and let people know across the country that this is a destination. It is a great place to live and a great place to come and visit," Reynolds said.
NFL legends who will be here for the Pheasant Jamboree
Billy Ray Barnes
Don and Diron Talbert