Gerald Almy: Outdoor sportsman show coming this month

Gerald Almy

When you think of outdoor shows, most people think of cold winter weather with snow on the ground, ice-covered ponds and freezing temperatures. That’s the setting for most hunting and fishing shows. It’s certainly a fine time to hold such events, since there’s very little to do outside and most hunting seasons are closed anyway.

Virginia’s main event, however, the Virginia Outdoor Sportsman Show, comes at the opposite time of year. They hold their popular event during early August. Their planning rationale is that fishing is usually slow then and outdoorsmen and women are getting excited about the coming hunting seasons. This year marks the 33rd year the summer outdoor show will be held.

The event will take place Aug. 12-14 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 and Keystone Tractor Works. Hours are 4 to 9 p.m. that Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. that Saturday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. that Sunday.

Lots of events, seminars and displays attract sportsmen and women to this 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 who enter mounted deer heads or antlers will have their bucks 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 http://virginiadeerhunters.org. Quaiff is the editor of the Virginia Deer Hunters’ fine publication, Whitetail Times. Another contest to be held at the show is the 3-D Archery Shoot, sponsored by the Virginia Archery Coalition.

The Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries will have personnel on hand and several booths at the show. Conservation police officers will be there, as well as wildlife biologists to visit with show attendees about fishing and hunting opportunities and regulations in Virginia. You can also buy hunting and fishing licenses at the show or register a boat. For a special treat, the department’s K-9 team of Labrador retrievers will be on hand and give demonstrations throughout the show.

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. Headlining the group will be Eva Shockey, the daughter of professional hunter and television producer Jim Shockey. She will be giving seminars throughout the weekend about her adventures on her own and with her famous father traveling the world hunting and co-hosting their show, Jim Shockey’s Hunting Adventures.

Neil Selby, of Shady Grove Kennel, near Remington, will give a talk on dog training. He has been a trainer for over 45 years, teaching all breeds of hunting dogs.

Frank Addington will give talks and demonstrations on archery. He is known as the first archer in history to hit a baby aspirin thrown into the air, with his bow behind his back. He has also shot three baby aspirins with three arrows in one shot.

All told, there will be over 300 booths at the show featuring hunting supplies, bows, tree stands, muzzleloaders, turkey, deer, and duck calls, waterfowl blinds, fishing equipment, camouflage clothing and wildlife art.

Admission is $10 daily, $15 for a three-day pass. Children 15 and younger are admitted free if accompanied by an adult. For more details, call 804-748-7529 or visit the show website http://sportsmanshow.com.

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