NEW BETHLEHEM – After first calling off the annual Big Buck Contest in the Redbank Valley area, New Bethlehem firefighters announced last Thursday that the event will be held after all.

In a post on the New Bethlehem Fire Company’s Facebook page on Oct. 15, the company said the Big Buck Contest is back on.

“Here you go New Bethlehem and area hunters who support us throughout the year. The last few weeks have been difficult,” the post stated, going on to explain that miscommunication between the fire company and Redbank Valley Chamber of Commerce, the two organizations that work together each year to make the contest happen, “and the lack of face-to-face meetings had us to the point of canceling the event.”

The fire company also said that it did not “fully understanding the importance of the contest and its tradition to our small town” until the reaction from the community after the cancelation was reported.

The post states that at their meeting on Oct. 13, fire company members decided to “carry on the 50-plus years of the buck contest.”

“The Redbank Valley Chamber of Commerce is normally our partner,” the company’s post continued. “They will still be our partner going forward. Honestly, both organizations dropped the ball on this event. But we regrouped and made it happen. The fire department would like to apologize to the chamber for not asking them if they wanted back in the event this year, but we decided to move swiftly to get this event out for all of you.”

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The post concludes by stating that the company looks forward to working with the chamber again in 2021.

Tickets and buttons for the Big Buck Contest and Gun Raffle are now on sale by contacting any fire company member, calling (814) 275-3000 or visiting NewBethlehemFire.com. The tickets are $5 each. Ticket sales will end on Friday, Nov. 27.

Weigh-ins for deer will take place once again at the New Bethlehem Fire Hall, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Nov. 28 and 29, noon to 8 p.m. on Nov. 30, 10 a.m to 8 p.m. on Dec. 5 and noon to 8 p.m. on Dec. 12. The weigh-ins will also take place at the fire hall from 6 to 8 p.m. the remainder of regular firearm season.

The contest’s drawing will take place on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 8 p.m.

Three prizes are planned for the hunters who bring in the heaviest deer, and an additional 13 prizes will be given away in the gun raffle drawing.

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