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Expos are the best recruitment tool we have for the future of outdoor sports.
The Ponca State Park is the site for an annual Outdoor Expo that features lots of stuff for families to see and do. Like most good Expos, the Ponca event features demonstrations, lectures, hands on stations, and loads of family friendly entertainment for young and old alike. September 18 and 19, 2010 I was in Ponca to do four archery exhibitions at this event. Everyone was great and I had a blast.
The Park is beautiful and I stayed on site in one of the cabins. Dick and Carol Mauch were my guests for the weekend. Dick and Carol are good friends that are both bowhunters. Dick was an early investor in Bear Archery and was close personal friends with the late Fred Bear and the late Glenn St. Charles. Dick, soon to be 84, has a wealth of archery history and anecdotes, and I was happy to have him and Carol at my shows. Carol still has the number one spot for the Pope and Young World Record Caribou she took years ago with her bow.
The Ponca event featured a great 3-D archery range for kids. I saw many other activities as well but the lines for archery seemed to be the longest. These Expos are the greatest hope for recruiting future archers and bowhunters. If you are a manufacturer I encourage you to please support these Expos across the country. My friend Dave Lockman at the Weatherby Foundation can give you info on them, if you want to get involved please email Dave at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have been to these Expos across the country and they are one of my favorite venues to perform in due to the fact that you are meeting so many potential families that can be recruited into the sport of archery! Most of those attending hunting shows already hunt where as many of the families at an EXPO are new to outdoor activities. As archery grows, manufacturers and dealers businesses expand, and we all win. Plus the sport of archery grows. So again I urge you to support these activities. The Ponca Expo reminded me of the famous Texas Expo, the grand daddy of all Expos. It was laid out with a lot of thought, well organized and well ran. They did a super job and it was obviously a labor of love for the businesses, volunteers and organizers. When you saw all the smiling children you knew why they hosted this event. The kids loved it! Although the weather dampened this year’s crowd some, last year the event drew more than an estimated 40,000.
Saturday’s weather was cold and rainy so we ended up setting up my exhibitions under a picnic shelter. There was limited room but we made everyone as comfortable as possible. Considering the weather they still had good crowds and we did two shows. Clint Fox tossed targets for me and did a fine job. The old adage about the “show must go on” is true. Saturday evening Dick, Carol and I had to drive over to Yankton, South Dakota to the NFAA headquarters to join our friends Ted Nugent and Bruce Cull for a Ted Nugent Camp for Kids event. We visited backstage with Theo and then I did a quick exhibition. I’ll have a column later about this event. After a fine steak dinner at the Black Steer we headed back to Ponca for a fine party at Tom and Bonnie Ferry’s home on the edge of Ponca State Park. Tom has a fine game room that features game on display on three levels of his home.
The next morning we got up and Carol headed to the store and then headed for home, Dick and I would follow after my last performance. Clint couldn’t be there Sunday so Josh Schnitzler stepped in and did a fantastic job tossing targets. I did two shows Sunday and we had great crowds outside. The audiences loved hearing from Dick, he spoke at each show Sunday.
This facility is perfect for an Expo. It’s laid out well and allows room for everyone to enjoy the different features. I signed a lot of autographs over the weekend and enjoyed meeting lots of new friends. Outdoor It was my first appearance in Nebraska but I will be back in 2011 or 2012.
The Have Bow Will Travel tour rolls on. Until next time, Adios and God Bless.