WON Landing Page OCT 2022

11th Annual Ringneck Classic Kicks Off in Kansas

The 111h Annual Kansas Governor’s Ringneck Classic will be held from Nov. 18 to 21 in Colby, Kansas. It will welcome 103 hunters from 16 states to a three-day weekend filled with opportunities to hunt pheasants in fields around Colby. Guests will also enjoy banquets, auctions and special events. The Ringneck Classic aims to bring awareness and dollars to wild pheasant hunting and conservation in Kansas.

This year’s theme, “Military Appreciation,” includes guests from all four branches of the service, including Medal of Honor recipient Staff Sgt. David Bellavia. An Army band will be onsite to play for the crowd on Saturday night. Timber Hills Lake Ranch is sponsoring the evening on behalf of all military and other guests. A highlight to the evening’s banquet activities includes a swearing-in ceremony for local Army enlistees. The City Limits & Bar in Colby will host the evening banquets. At least 50 volunteer guides and dog handlers will step in to ensure that guests enjoy the spacious fields of seven counties in western Kansas.

Other notables attending this year’s Classic include Gov. Laura Kelly and former Gov. Sam Brownback. Representatives from national outdoor organizations will join industry representatives from the shooting and hunting worlds, politicians and business leaders who understand the importance of conservation. 

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The Classic also will host its second annual “Chix in the Sticks,” on Fri., Nov. 19, from 4 to 5:30 p.m. in the City Limits Bar & Grill. The event is open to the public and free. It will feature raffles, games and influential speakers in the world of women and hunting.

Since 2011, the Classic has generated more than $500,000 for local beneficiaries, youth, its partners supporting conservation efforts and the Northwest Kansas Conservation Foundation. The Foundation is the backbone of the yearly event. This year’s youth hunters are Kiera McNellis, of Burlingame High School, and Waylon Ricker, of Scott Community High School. They won these coveted slots to hunt at the Classic out of a record number of entries. They will walk away with a lifetime hunting and fishing permit in Kansas and a lifetime of memories made.

Sponsors include Conestoga Energy (Liberal, Kan.), Charter Communications, Western Plain Energy (Campus, Kan.), Waltons Inc. (Wichita, Kan.), NextEra Energy, Think Trust Products (De Soto, Kan.), Foote Cattle Company (Colby, Kan.), Federal Ammunition, Camp Chef, Woofer Construction & Irrigation (Colby, Kan.), TriStar, Ruger, Kansas Electric Cooperatives, Inc., Purina Dog Food, A&A Coors (Hays, Kan.), Gamehide, Franchi, Hoppe’s, Walmart, Bushnell, 24-7 Travel Store, American Implement (Oakley, Kan.), Peoples State Banks, Western Kansas Farm Credit (Colby, Kan.), True Fuel, Colby Convention and Visitors Bureau, Colby Chamber of Commerce, Qdoba (Colby, Kan.), Starbucks (Colby, Kan.), City Limits Bar and Grill, Oasis Travel Plaza (Colby, Kan.) and City Limits Convention Center (Colby, Kan.).

Several partners came onboard to support the event: Colby Country Gun Trader (Colby, Kan.), Freedom Hunters, Pheasants Forever, Quail Forever, Pass It On Outdoor Mentors, “Women’s Outdoor News,” Kansas State Rifle Association and Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Recreation.

Ringneck Classic / Northwest Kansas Conservation Foundation Board Members include Jim Millensifer, Keith O’Dell, Barry Kaaz, Nolan Hull, Justin Burrus, Jenny Niblock, Bert Maxfield, Lana Johnson, Lexi Maris and Ringneck Classic Administrator Laurie Millensifer.

For more information about supporting the Classic, contact Jim Millensifer at (785) 953-1139.

Last year, I attended the Kansas Governor’s Ringneck Classic and spent a marvelous day afield with the “girls’ team,” which included two girls from Pass It On, Outdoor Mentors and also, two scholarship winners. Kathryn Beach, of Upland Bespoke, gave each girl a custom-fit vest, and the Classic gave each of them a lifetime Kansas hunting and fishing permit.

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Girls at the Governor’s Ringneck Classic Hunt, wearing Upland Bespoke vests and holding their certificates. (Heather Francis photo)

“The Year of the Woman Hunter”

Last year’s theme, “The Year of the Woman Hunter,” saw more than the Classic’s average of 20 percent women hunters afield, including the Director of the US Fish and Wildlife Department, Aurelia Skipwith. Repesentatives from Wander Woman Kansas and wildHERness joined the teams. Typically, the Classic hosts at least 20 percent women hunters in the group of invitees.

RNC Skipwith 2020
Director of the USFWS, Aurelia Skipwith, hunted with this team all day on Saturday and gave a riveting speech promoting conservation at the banquet. (Rick Dykstra photo)

Our team trudged across a few fields in the morning and afternoon, battling tall grass and winds.

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Here I am in the field at the far left, shooting my Benelli Ultralight and downing a pheasant that popped up. (Heather Francis photo)
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My team for the Kansas Governor’s Ringneck Classic, included Outdoor Mentors leaders, as well as the girls who won scholarships and came as youth hunters, along with Jessica White, of Wander Woman Kansas, and our guide. (Heather Francis photo)
Babbs and Wander Woman
Jessica White and I are striking a pose, and yeah, you can see that we got a few birds between us. (Heather Francis photo)

If you want to follow the Classic, check out its website and follow its social media.

  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at https://www.ozarkian.com.