The special guest at the Ducks Unlimited banquet
won’t be walking on two legs or even flying on two wings.
“Ophelia” is a light blonde Labrador retriever puppy
who will be auctioned off at the Geneseo chapter’s 39th annual
banquet on Saturday, Sept. 21, at the Best Western Inn in
Annawan.

She is a purebred AKC yellow Labrador donated by
Flying S Retrievers & Guides, Witten, S. Dak., where she was
born April 23.
“Ophelia” was named for a Shakespearean character.
Trainer Dana Wardlow of Wardlow’s Wisteria Kennels in rural
Sherrard is using the name “Lila” during training.

Lila likes to carry her leash, while her human walks her
with another leash, Wardlow said. Possessed of a sweet
disposition, she has been socialized with other dogs, cats and
children, including a toddler. Lila barks to let humans know she
needs to be let out in the middle night. She is crate-trained.

By the night of the banquet, Lila will be five months old.
She will have had two months of obedience training, and she
will be the right age to train for hunting.
Wardlow already is training Lila to retrieve scented
pheasant wings. Lila has a soft mouth and does not chew the
wings.
“Whoever gets her is going to have a fantastic dog,”
the trainer said.
Lila’s parents are hunt-test champions, Wardlow said.
The breeder is a judge for hunt tests and a guide for pheasant
hunts.

Both parents have passed genetic tests and are all
clear for hip dysplasia, and both have been certified by the
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals as having excellent hips,
patellas and eyes.

A live auction will start at 8 p.m. Sept. 21, chairman
Dale Doubler said. Thirty-two firearms and one crossbow will be
auctioned off, including winners of the Shotgun of the Year,
Rifle of the Year and Handgun of the Year awards.
Wildlife artist Anthony Padgett of Indianapolis, Ind., is
coming to the banquet with an acrylic oil painting to raffle off,
Doubler said. He is considered another Terry Redlin.
Also planned for the evening are raffles for women and
children under 18 (or Greenwings), and a silent auction.
Wardlow’s husband Steven is donating a dog urn.

Proceeds from the banquet will help fund conservation
projects for wetlands and more than 900 wildlife species. Last
year’s banquet drew 250 persons.
Preserving wetlands benefits all kinds of wildlife,
Doubler said. “If we don’t conserve these wetlands, the young kids
aren’t going to have a place to hunt,” Wardlow said. “Species
could die out.”

For tickets, phone Doubler at (309) 945-3516.
Members of other Ducks Unlimited chapters may purchase
tickets at a discount. Tickets must be ordered two days in
advance. No tickets will be sold at the door.
Those purchasing tickets by Monday, Aug. 19, will be
placed in an early-bird drawing.

Doors will open at 5 p.m. Sept. 21 for a social hour. A
catered meal will begin at 6:30 p.m.