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Almy: Richmond show a welcome relief for outdoors

By Gerald Almy - sports@nvdaily.com

Most outdoor sports shows for hunters and fishermen are held during the middle of winter. The organizers figure hunting seasons are winding down and it's too cold to fish, so sportsmen would like to spend a few hours inside a heated convention center looking at the latest gear and talking to experts. Judging from the crowds that most of these shows draw, they must be right.

But the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show takes a different approach. It holds its show in August every year. Based on the great turnout they get, hunters and fishermen must think summer is also a great time to hold shows. Certainly, there's no hunting going on now, so it's a good time to walk around and see some videos and hear a few talks about calling in turkeys or scouting for whitetails.

This year's show will take place Aug. 10-12 at the Richmond Raceway Complex, 600 E. Laburnum Ave., in Richmond. More than 290 booths displaying hunting supplies such as bows, muzzleloaders, tree stands, camouflage, and calls will be featured. Admission is $10 daily, $15 for a three-day pass, with children 15 and under admitted free if accompanied by an adult.

Show hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Aug. 10; 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 11; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 12.

Anyone who attends the show can enter for a door prize giveaway of a six-day pre-rut Kansas bow hunt, valued at $2,950.

Lots of entertaining sports celebrities will be on hand, topped by Lee and Tiffany Lakosky, who have their own TV show about deer hunting.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will have a booth with game wardens and wildlife biologists on hand to answer questions and provide information about the hunting and fishing opportunities in the state, and more specifically, in the Shenandoah Valley.

Dimples and Honee-Bee will be at the show for the 17th year, painting designs on children's faces and making balloon sculptures, as well as performing magic and clowning around with the audience.

For deer hunters, the famous NRA Great American Whitetail Collection will be on display.
This collection includes the famous "Del Austin Buck" known to many as "Old Mossy Horns." It was previously the world record Pope and Young Non-Typical Whitetail and now ranks as the second largest bow killed non-typical. It scores 279 7/8 and was harvested in 1962 by Mr. Del Austin near the Platte River in Hall County, Neb. Many other impressive deer will be on display at the show in this stunning collection.

One of the most popular events at the Sportsman Show is the Virginia Deer Classic. This competition is hosted by the Virginia Deer Hunter's Association and sponsored by Keystone Tractor Works Museum. It offers show attendees a chance to see some of the biggest bucks collected by hunters last year, and in seasons past, by hunters in the Old Dominion.

Contestants' deer will be measured using the Boone & Crockett scoring system, the most widely used way to score whitetail deer. Categories will include typical and non-typical as well as various antler groups based on the number of points. Bow, muzzleloader and rifle categories will also separate the entered bucks into different groups, along with a new category for this year, crossbow.

Ribbons and trophies will be awarded in five antler classes. The awards will be presented at 5 p.m., on Sunday. Hunters must have a certified Virginia Game Check Card or their confirmation number from the Game Department's telephone check system in order to enter a deer in the contest. For more information, go to the Virginia Deer Hunters Association web site at virginiadeerhunters.org, or call Denny at 804-590-3481.

A turkey calling contest will also be held, with four different divisions. For information on that event, call Phil Wyatt, 804-337-9433.

In conjunction with the show, the Greater Richmond Chapter, Friends of NRA will hold a banquet on Aug. 9 at the Richmond Raceway Complex in the Commonwealth Building. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets cost $60 and can be purchased through Green Top Sporting Goods, greentophuntfish.com., or through friendsofnra.org. The tickets include a meal, open bar, auction and free one-day ticket to the Outdoor Sportsman Show.

For more information on the show, call Hugh Crittenden at 804-241-1137 or visit the web site at sportsmanshow.com

• Whitetails Unlimited, a national nonprofit organization established in 1982, with more than 90,000 supporters and 425 chapters, has a career opportunity as Field Director. The position will be located in central Virginia with an October start date. The goal of this position is to establish, maintain and grow the operations of Whitetails Unlimited in the state of Virginia. Interested candidates can submit their resume, references and salary requirements to ktassoul@whitetailsunlimited.com, by Aug. 15.

-- Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident.

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