Yorktonites had a rare opportunity on the weekend to see, touch and even buy fossil specimens you are unlikely to see outside a museum setting.
Terry Ciotka, the man behind a unique benefit for his long-time friend Shawn Takatch who is battling lung cancer, wanted to do something a little different for Yorkton. He scoured his warehouse for some really special items.
"A lot of the stuff I brought is stuff even the public in big centres never get to see," he said. "Like the T-Rex brain case that I have. Only a handful of paleontologists have seen this, but I'm letting Yorkton come, hold it, take pictures. The Stegosaur tail spike I have, there's not very many in the world and I'm letting people hold it.
Why? For his friend Shawn and family.
"He's an amazing human being," Ciotka said. "If you've ever spent 10 minutes with him, all you want to do is talk about what a great guy he is."
Ciotka also brought a plethora of specimens so people could take a little piece of prehistory home with them at unheard of prices, about one-tenth what they would sell for retail.
"I don't sell to the public," he said. "People can't just come in off the street and buy from me. I did this 100 per cent for Shawn."
The response from the public was huge, said Gary Holowatuk, another friend who largely organized the event, which was held at St. Gerard's Parish Hall on Friday and Saturday. In all, they raised more than $15,000, he said
"I can't thank Yorkton enough for what they've done," Ciotka said. "People have been so generous. It's really touching."
Shawn was almost speechless when he found out the total."It's overwhelming to think about," he said. I'm not used to getting help from people; I'm not that kind of guy. It's quite something for Yorkton to be so generous."
Kim, Shawn's wife, was also overwhelmed.
"I was shocked and amazed how wonderful it was,"
she said. "We have pretty amazing friends. I was very, very grateful.
Approximately 1,200 who attended the two-day show were grateful for the opportunity. Fossils, particularly dinosaurs, hold a great deal of fascination for young and old alike.
"For one thing, I think it's the sheer size of them," Ciotka explained.
"You look at things like modern elephants and giraffes and people are blown away by the size. So, when you see dinosaur bones and imagine how big they must have been it's almost mind-blowing. Also, it's a big part of our evolution... I don't know, it's just pretty neat."