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Squirrel Slam is already sold out

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 6 February 2014 at 12:00 am

HOLLEY – The “Squirrel Slam” fund-raiser for the Holley Fire Department is already sold out with 650 people buying tickets to compete in the Feb. 22 event.

The event drew nearly 1,000 entries last year. The Fire Department decided to cap the participants at 650 because 1,000 proved too many for the reception at fire hall, said Fran Gaylord, Fire Department president.

The event, which has been protested by some animal rights activists, drew national attention to Holley last year. The Fire Department quickly sold out this year with only word of mouth advertising, Gaylord said.

Some of the people who buy tickets don’t intend to hunt. They just want to support the department, Gaylord said. The Fire Department next year may sell tickets for those that want to hunt and then have tickets for non-hunters who want a chance to win raffle prizes.

The Squirrel Slam generates about $6,500 in revenue for the Fire Department. After it pays out $1,500 for prizes, $500 for food and $440 to Holley for police overtime, Gaylord said the event nets about $4,000.

“That’s not bad for a one-day event,” he said.

This is the eighth year the Holley Fire Department has planned the fund-raiser.

In the Holley competition contestants pay an entry fee and then go hunting for squirrels. Hunters as young as 12 can win prizes for biggest squirrels shot.

Animal rights activists protested last year and urged Holley to cancel the event. The Village Board and Fire Department let it continue and participation surged from the usual 250 to nearly 1,000. Outside police were brought in to help manage the protest.