Gerald Almy: Outdoor sportsman show coming up
When you think of outdoor sports shows, most people think of late winter events with snow on the ground, ice-covered ponds, and freezing temperatures. That’s definitely a great time to hold such events, since there’s very little to do outside and most hunting seasons are closed then.
The Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show, however, takes the opposite approach. They hold their popular event during early August. The thinking is that fishing is usually slow then and outdoorsmen and women are getting excited about the coming hunting seasons. It’s a strategy that has worked out well over the years. In fact, this year marks the 32nd year the summer outdoor show will be held.
The event will take place Aug. 7-9 at the Richmond Raceway Complex at 600 E. Laburnum Ave., near Richmond. It is being sponsored by Green Top Hunting & Fishing, The Virginia Deer Hunter’s Association, Keystone Tractor Works and The Classic Edge Knives and Cutlery, among others. Hours are 4-9 p.m. Aug. 7, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Aug. 8, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Aug. 9.
There are lots of interesting attractions at the show, but one of the highlights is the Virginia Deer Classic, a contest that compares the biggest bucks tagged in the state last year in different categories. Contestants will have their bucks’ antlers scored using the official Boone & Crockett method, the most widely respected measuring system.
Certified judges will measure the racks to the nearest 1/8-inch and award ribbons and trophies in five antler classes including typical and non-typical and various point levels from 6 pointers on up. Bucks are judged according to the type of hunting gear used, with categories including regular bows, crossbows, muzzleloaders, and modern firearms. Awards will be presented to winners at 5 p.m. on Sunday.
Hunters must have in their possession 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 details, call Denny Quaiff at 804-590-3481, or check out the website virginiadeerhunters.org. Quaiff is the editor of the organization’s excellent publication, Whitetail Times.
Other contests to be held at the show include a 3-D Archery Shoot, sponsored by the Virginia Archery Coalition, the Corn Hole Championship, and the Virginia Sportsman Gunning Decoy Contest.
The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will have several booths at the show. Conservation police officers will be on hand as well as wildlife biologists to visit with show attendees about fishing and hunting opportunities and regulations in Virginia. You’ll even be able to buy hunting and fishing licenses at the show or register a boat. A Basic Hunter Education Class is scheduled during the show as well on Saturday.
The NRA Great American Whitetail Collection is always a popular display at the Outdoor Sportsman Show. Included in the NRA display is the famous Hole-in-the-Horn buck, with a non-typical rack score of 328 2/8 inches. This awesome set of antlers weighs 11 ½ pounds and is one of the largest free-range bucks ever bagged.
A number of celebrity guest speakers will be at the event, including Ron and Amy Shirley, of Lizard Lick’s Towing and Recovery television fame. Don Shumaker is a well-known trapper who will give talks on catching elusive coyotes, as well as raccoons and other furbearers. Don has trapped for over 50 years. Neil Selby, of Shady Grove Kennel, will give a talk on dog training.
All told there will be over 350 booths at the show featuring hunting supplies, bows, tree stands, muzzleloaders, turkey and duck calls, waterfowl blinds, fishing equipment, camouflage clothing, and wildlife art work.
Admission is $10 daily, $15 for a three-day pass. Children 15 and under are admitted free if accompanied by an adult. For more details, call 804-748-7529 or visit the show website sportsmanshow.com.
Award-winning outdoors writer Gerald Almy is a Maurertown resident.