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South Dakota pheasant hunt, concert raise funds

PARKER (AP) -- Country music stars are playing a benefit concert in conjunction with a youth pheasant hunt in South Dakota to raise money for those less fortunate.

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PARKER (AP) - Country music stars are playing a benefit concert in conjunction with a youth pheasant hunt in South Dakota to raise money for those less fortunate.

Turner County Sheriff Byron Nogelmeier began the hunt 13 years ago to promote the sport among young people. Along the way, country stars learned of the effort and wanted to support it. Artists then offered to play a benefit concert in conjunction with the hunt, the Yankton Press & Dakotan reported.

Nogelmeier said the concerts have raised thousands of dollars for recipients ranging from elderly residents on fixed incomes to young families struggling with bills.

"The proceeds benefit the Turner County Ministerial Association and the Turner County food pantries," Nogelmeier said. "We've raised $6,500 to $9,000 a year. We help those who may have just hit on hard times."

The concert and hunt combination have taken place for 10 years. This year's concert features Jimmy Fortune, a former member of the Statler Brothers who will perform Oct. 29.

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The concerts represent the latest addition to what began as a mission for Nogelmeier. The sheriff wanted a day set aside for county youth to hunt pheasants after completing the state hunter safety course. With the help of artist Ray Kelly, the hunt turned into a celebrity hunt and an annual fundraising concert.

The sheriff said he's glad the event continues to focus on youth hunting.

"I contact kids who pass the (safety) course and invite them to a day of hunting. It gives them the opportunity to carry on that tradition," he said. "If they like hunting and get involved with it, they carry it with them forever. If they hate it, at least they've tried it."

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