Outsdoormen flock to annual weekend event

The 7th annual Adirondack Outdoorsman Show was at the Johnstown Moose Club, which was ready to burst

At the 7th annual Adirondack Outdoorsman Show, Don Wharton began to feel nostalgic for the week-long outdoorsman shows in Amsterdam during the 1940s.

“The idea of bringing this show back is nice,” said the 73-year-old Wharton, who lives in South Glens Falls. “It’s like the old times.”

And he should know. As the defacto historian of these types of events in the region, his knowledge is on record in books on sale at his table.

Event organizer Mike Hauser practically beams when Wharton speaks about how the past is being kept alive.

“I tried to model my show after what I heard about those shows,” said Hauser, who was too young to ever attend the past events.

This year’s show was at the Johnstown Moose Club, which was ready to burst at the seams with all the vendors and visitors packed in. There were tables from all over the state selling guns, archery equipment, spices, fishing equipment and nearly anything a serious outdoorsman would want.

Hauser said he only allows tables that are purely about the outdoors and keeps out the “fluff vendors” that are commonly found at larger shows.

But that didn’t mean there weren’t some kid-friendly sites, like Steve Hutchins of Oswego County, who was selling wooden rubber band shooters designed to look like guns. He described them as timeless toys that offer a break from video games.

“The kids aren’t wearing out their thumbs doing this,” Hutchins said.

The shooters caught the attention of Colin Hennessey, 10, of Mayfield, who convinced his dad to open up his wallet so he could buy a shooter and a large bag of rubber bands. Hennessey promised not to shoot any siblings or pets, including his three-legged cat with diabetes.

He chose his particular shooter because it was accurate during some trial shots, didn’t jam and could shoot farther.

Unfortunately for 9-year-old Owen Graf, also of Mayfield, who was at the show with the Hennessey clan, his family wasn’t around to approve and finance his own purchase. Instead, he was forced to only admire the shooter that was designed to look like a Tommy gun.

One of the more traditional stands was the bird decoys from Gary Doviak of Perth. He was displaying and selling wooden models of waterfowl for anywhere from $125 to $500.

“People come up to me and they can’t believe they’re made out of wood,” Doviak said as he sat by his stand, carving the head of a goose. In addition to selling his wares, he was also providing a seminar on making the decoys, which include geese, ducks and songbirds.

There were also guns on display, being raffled and being sold, but Hauser stressed that this was only one facet of the show.

“We’re very diverse. It’s not a gun show, but we do have guns,” he said. “If you’re just a gun collector, you’re going to be disappointed.”

Every few feet, Hauser would be stopped as he walked through the crowded building, and he said this was a testament to the personal feel of his event.

“By keeping it here in Fulton County, we keep that local flavor alive,” he said.

The show continues today from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Today’s event includes a turkey call contest from 1 to 2:30 p.m., with youth and adult divisions and awards to the top finalists.

Categories: Schenectady County

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