Fossil finder sells naming rights for charity

By 
Hunter Herbaugh
Sunday, June 28, 2020
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The dig site that was the focus of the auction is centered around a Pachycephalosaurus dome fossil that Dave Fuqua found in one of the deepest corners of Makoshika State Park. Fuqua is picutured above with the fossil. Submitted photos

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Paleontologist Cary Woodruff, Makoshika intern Michael Ford, Americorps Adam Winfield, Chandler Senda, Brenlee Schipp and Willie Freimuth prepare to work at the dig site Thursday. Submitted photos

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(L to R) Willie Freimuth, a graduate student, and Cary Woodruff, a paleontologist from the Great Plains Dinosaur Museum, work at the dino dig which was centered around a Pachycephalosaurus dome fossil.

Local dinosaur enthusiast Dave “Dinodave” Fuqua raised over $1,000 for charity by offering the naming rights of a paleontological dig site to the highest bidder.

The dig site that was the focus of the auction is centered around a Pachycephalosaurus dome fossil that Fuqua found in one of the deepest corners of Makoshika State Park.

The auction was posted on facebook on June 23 where people began placing bids immediately. All the money raised will be donated to the Glendive Community Cancer Fund.

“It’s customary for the founder to get to name the site. I’ll try this and see if it works. How about I give naming rights to the highest bidder?” Fuqua wrote in his post.

According to Fuqua, he decided to try out raising money through an auction on a whim. He thought that it would make a nice moment for someone to name a dig site after a family member or a loved one. Initially he was only expecting to get a small amount of funds raised, but the auction quickly took off and surpassed his expectations.

“I thought I’d get a hundred bucks. I couldn’t believe the response,” Fuqua said.

The winning offer was made by Mandy Hoffman, representing the friends of Wendy Keller, a local long-time nurse who passed away earlier this year after her battle with breast cancer. The bid was made for $700, but Mutt Dickson, another participant in the auction, adding her losing bid of $650 on top of the winning bid, equalling to $1,350. Fuqua said he also had an anonymous donation of $50, bringing the grand total to $1,400. The money will be going to the Glendive Community Cancer Fund due to Fuqua’s prior participation in the group’s “Hike for Hope” program.

“What a great way to support Glendive Community Cancer Fund where all the funds help people fighting cancer living in Dawson the feedback from the community, with multiple locals commenting that this idea was “amazing,” or “awesome.” One person commented that the auction was simply “the best.”

He said he was able to recognize the fossil because he had found a couple before and noted that each one was a rare and valuable find. A team of paleontologist from the Museum of the Rockies came to excavate the site last Thursday and will be preparing it for viewing, just like the other fossils that Fuqua has unearthed.

The site was named “Willamena,” after Keller’s childhood nickname. With the site located in a hard to reach area, only Fuqua and the paleontology team were there, however the winners of the auction will receive a full tour when the specimen is ready for viewing.

Though he likely won’t do a fund raiser like this for all of his finds, Fuqua noted that the overwhelmingly positive results do make him want to do this again at some point in the future.

If anyone is interested in donating to Hike for Hope, donations can be sent to the Glendive Community Cancer Fund at P.O. Box #1144 in Glendive.

Reach Hunter Herbaugh at rrreporter@rangerreview.com.

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