Photo: Sharon Gardiner
The 2nd Annual Gun and Sportsman Show held at the arena in Barry’s Bay on May Long Weekend built on last year’s success. The event has grown from 70 vendors to more than one hundred in just one year. Show organizer John Rutledge said the Madawaska Valley Fish & Game Club (MVFGC) found last year’s show in Quadeville was so popular that MVFGC was forced to move it to Barry’s Bay to be able to offer additional accommodation options for show vendors and attendees. Exhibitors at the show came from as far away as the prairie provinces. Many knew each other from other shows or from visits to the Valley which added to the friendly atmosphere.
Talking to The Current on the last day of the show, Rutledge said the Club was already booking vendors for next year and he expected they would have to establish a limit so as not to crowd the Paul J. Yakabuski Community Centre. The 2018 show included a display by the Renfrew County ATV Club. Rutledge said he hopes that in time the annual show will attract all types of outdoor sports exhibits and thereby appeal to all members of the family, not just the hunters.
If the cheerful gauntlet I had to run to get into the arena is anything to go by, MVFGC must be among the best-natured, corniest-joke-telling, friendliest greeters in the Valley.
From left: Visitors were greeted by MVFGC volunteers Jim Kauffeldt (MVFGC Vice-President), Wayne Banks, John Beaudrie (Director), Gwen Coulas
In true Valley fashion MVFGC takes good care of their visitors. A willing army of club volunteers demonstrates top-class customer service by helping every exhibitor load and unload their displays, as well as providing coffee and donuts free of charge for the vendors during the show.
MVFGC Secretary Mary Dwyer in the canteen
Rutledge outlined the measures MVFGC had taken to ensure security and safety for exhibitors and visitors. As you would expect all restricted firearms were trigger-locked, secured and removed at night; handguns were in locked cases or removed at night. Club volunteers provided round-the-clock security so vendors would have no worries from their arrival Friday night until departure time late Sunday afternoon. He said the club appreciated the cooperation and assistance received from Madawaska Valley Township’s Recreation Department staff.
Tired but still smiling (from left): Joe Lapierre, Iris Kauffeldt (MVFGC President), John Rutledge
The annual Gun and Sportsman Show is a major venture for the club. In addition, MVFGC runs a number of events and training programs, including monthly suppers, youth training, hunters safety and ARPAL. Click HERE to visit the Madawaska Valley Fish & Game Club website for more information.