Denton natives organizing fire fundraiser Friday and Saturday

By 
Deb Hill
Reporter
Tuesday, January 18, 2022
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Siblings Josey Carter Koke and Beau Carter are the forces behind the Denton Fire Relief Fund Benefit event taking place at the Trade Center this Friday and Saturday. A combination of music, food and auctions, all funds raised will go to help victims of the December fire in Denton. Photo courtesy of Josey Carter Koke

Beau Carter knows only too well the negative impact of wildfire. One of the three Denton-area fires this past summer burned a substantial portion of his four-generation family ranch on Wolf Creek.

“I lost about seven months of pasture, both the grazing and the fences,” Carter said.

However he also saw first-hand how rural communities pitch in to help each other out in times like this.

“Central Montana is so amazing, especially the fire departments,” he said. “If we had not had Roy fire crews out, if we had not had Hilger fire crews backing us up…things could have been so much worse.”

Carter said the most recent Denton fire was still smoldering when he and his sister, Josey Carter Koke, decided they needed to find a way to help.

Carter, who put together a benefit after the Taylor fire, suggested they do another one for Denton.

The siblings started reaching out, both to those who were already involved in fundraising and those who just wanted to help.

“The fire was still burning and we already had people asking to volunteer,” said Carter.

Koke said she was inspired by Amy Thompson’s work after the Garfield County fire, which included an online auction. Thompson had already begun a similar online effort after the Denton fire.

“She is amazing, and we were able to use her existing online auction site as a springboard,” Koke said. With Carter working on the musical end of the event, and Koke contributing her organizing and social media talents, the event blossomed.

The result is a two-day affair Friday and Saturday at the Trade Center, with everything from well-known musicians to a live auction.

“We have some amazing groups coming to play on Friday,” Carter said. “All of them are from Montana. Tris Munsick will be there, and he will perform with Kaci and Blake Hauptman. Tris and Blake were friends in college. Colt Gill is Terry Gill’s son; and they have ties to Denton. The SunsAh406 lead singer, Jarrod Hanson, is from Chester. They all know what this fire season was like here, and they are all coming to help, out of their hearts, at no charge.”

The event is free from 4-7 p.m. during the silent auction. After 7 p.m. there is a cover charge, which will be added to the funds raised at the event.

Food concessions will be provided by the 406 Café.

“I really appreciate that they are donating their time to do this,” Carter said. “The Legion Bar will handle the bar sales, including a Bloody Mary bar on Saturday.”

All of the proceeds from the concessions will go to the fire fund.

Saturday at 11 a.m. is the live auction with auctioneer Kyle Shobe. 

Auction items, which run the gamut from handmade jewelry, to trips and vacation packages, to ranch equipment, to a registered quarter horse filly, Miss Styling, were organized into silent, online and live auction categories. 

Photos and details of auction items are available on the event Facebook page and website.

Some of the many donated items won’t be seen by or available to the public, however.

“We received things like gift cards to building stores and we will have those donated directly to families who were burned out,” Carter said.

Koke, returning to the area this week from her home in Great Falls, said the donations and volunteer efforts don’t surprise her.

“In Montana, especially Central Montana, we show up for each other,” she said. “I can’t put into words how generous people have been. It makes me proud to be from here.”

Carter said he feels he is one of the lucky ones after seeing the devastation from recent fires.

“After the Taylor fire burned through I was out looking for our cattle and I found about 150 pair of 200 I had down there, all tucked in by a little stock tank and none were burned. Next spring it will be really green out there and all that sage brush I’ve been complaining about should be knocked back some,” he said, looking at the bright side.

But the experience also spurred him to his current efforts.

“People who were so generous to us after the Taylor fire got burned out in the Denton fire,” he said. 

This weekend’s fundraiser should return the favor.

Who to contact

 

If you would like to help out with the event or have questions, contact:

Main organizers

Beau Carter (406) 949-1673

Josey Carter Koke (406) 350-3101

 

Auction contacts

Kyle Shobe (406) 366-0472

Chaney Bowen (406) 836-0290

 

Denton online, banking and volunteer organizers

Samantha Wheeler

Josh Webber

Heather DeVries

 

Online information

Denton Fire Relief Fund Live Auction Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1253491211729789

Denton Fire Relief website: dentonfirerelief.com

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