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This one's for the birds: Worthington to host 2014 state pheasant opener

Gov. Mark Dayton (center) poses with a Worthington contingent Friday evening after the city was announced as the host community for the 2014 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)


MADELIA — Gov. Mark Dayton announced Friday evening that the city of Worthington has been chosen as the host community for the 2014 Minnesota Governor’s Pheasant Hunting Opener.

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The announcement was made during the banquet at this year’s pheasant opener event, hosted by the city of Madelia.

“For more than 50 years, I have enjoyed pheasant hunting in Minnesota,” said Dayton, who began the Governor’s Pheasant Opener tradition in 2011. “Over the past three years, we have enjoyed terrific openers, thanks to the tremendous work of our hosts in Montevideo, Marshall and now Madelia. I am pleased to announce that next year, the fourth annual Governor’s Pheasant Opener will be held in Worthington.”

Worthington, with a population of 12,764, was selected through an application process that considered hunting land in the area, event facilities and community support.

“Our very first meeting to see if we could host this event was back in February,” Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Darlene Macklin said Friday night. “The CVB (Convention and Visitors’ Bureau) knew we wanted to host it, but there was no way we could do it without Nobles County Pheasants Forever.”

Scott Rall, president of Nobles County Pheasants Forever, said the group was eager to lend a hand to the effort.

“After the CVB approached us, a small group of Pheasants Forever people met twice and started some preliminary-type assessment as to whether or not we had the energy, the land base and the volunteer recruitment required,” Rall said. “After those meetings, we determined that we did, and we later notified the Chamber.”

An application to host the event was subsequently submitted jointly by the CVB and Nobles County Pheasants Forever. Worthington was one of three communities to be named as a finalist.

“It’s going to be wonderful for the community,” Macklin said. “It’s going to be great PR for the community and a great opportunity to have Worthington be a showcase for the state of Minnesota. We already know there’s many hunters that come to Worthington in the fall, and this offers further proof why.”

The event is scheduled for Oct. 10-11, 2014, with a large banquet to be hosted on the initial evening. 

“That will be a big event. Tonight in Madelia, there were over 400 people at the banquet,” Macklin added.

Previous host communities have been Montevideo, Marshall and Madelia. The event highlights the many hunting, recreational, travel and local opportunities that host communities have to offer visitors. 

Explore Minnesota Tourism and Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will assist local partners in planning the event.