Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More From Mark Taylor... Virginia Outdoor Sportmen's Classic!

Be sure to check this article and more out in it's original form here.

Salem to host summer outdoor expo

By Mark Taylor

When entrepreneur promoter Waynette Anderson decided to bring a big outdoor expo to the Roanoke Valley last summer, some cynics cringed.

Previous shows hadn't gone over well, albeit those attempts came long ago. Then there was a scheduling conflict with the long-established expo in Richmond, a problem not so much with attracting attendees but for vendors who can be in only one place.

Those thinking this could be a one-and-done scenario were silenced when the Virginia Outdoor Sportsmen's Classic drew nearly 8,000 people and earned solid reviews from sportsmen and vendors.

Anderson put on a winter show this past February, and the summer show returns Aug. 22-24.

The show will be at the Salem Civic Center, whereas the previous two were at the Roanoke Civic Center.

Other than the location change, the general concept for the expo remains intact, with the show offering a mix of gear sellers and seminar speakers.

The show features a number of interesting offerings.

Among them, Virginians Eric Hale and Chris Ward, who shoot videos for the Drury Outdoors team, will conduct a special live auction to benefit the Catch a Dream Foundation.

Anyone who has seen the Drury Outdoors' "Dream Season" TV series knows that participants in the show are asked to raise money for the foundation. Hale and Ward, who also will be giving six seminars throughout the weekend, participated in the series a couple of years ago and were asked back for "Dream Season All Stars," which is being filmed this hunting season and will air starting July 2009.

The auction will be at 4 p.m. on Aug. 23. Ward says items on the block include ATVs, bows and gift certificates.

The show will also feature the Virginia Outdoor Open turkey calling contest, which is being hosted by the Franklin County Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.

The contest is at 1 p.m. on Aug. 23. The entry fee is $25, and prizes range up to $500 for the winners in the top divisions.

The trophy buck contest has been tweaked. Categories will be offered for bow, muzzleloader and rifle-killed bucks taken last year, with an additional historical category for older trophies.

A number of exhibits will allow sportsmen to put their hands on gear. They include an ATV test track, a 3D archery range, a youth archery range, a youth education area and a fly-casting pond.

The popular jumping water dogs attraction -- this time from Ultimate Air Dogs -- also is back this year.

The indoor bass tank will also be back and provide a venue for fishing-related seminars from the likes of guide Teddy Carr.

Other speakers include coyote hunting expert Tom Bechdel, and Max Rowe and Buck Buchanan of the "Just Killin' Time" TV show on the Sportsman Channel.

Fred Cox of Grand Slam Turkey Calls will talk about making turkey calls; Bobby Edwards of Capture outdoors will discuss quality deer management, while J.C. Hall of Sacred Ground Outdoors will present a how-to on filming hunts. I even managed to wiggle my way on to the speaker schedule to talk about ways to get kids hooked on the outdoors.

Admission to the show is $9, with $2 discount coupons available at Roanoke-area Hardee's. For more information, visit vaoutdoorsportsmensclassic.com.

Big Game Contest in September

The 69th annual Virginia Big Game Contest will be held over two weekends in September, giving hunters a chance to show off their deer, turkey and bear trophies from the past hunting season.

This year the Western Regional will be combined with the state championship. The contest, which is hosted by the Rockingham County chapter of the Izaak Walton League of America, will be Sept. 27-28 at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds just south of Harrisonburg.

Entries will be accepted starting at 9 a.m. on Sept. 26, with no entries accepted after 2 p.m. on Sept. 27.

For more information on the contest, call John Ritenour at (540) 434-8028.

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