Ryan Stokes is coached up before taking his turn shooting in the Benelli-sponsored tent. The company, which was one of the sponsors and exhibitors, allowed Expo visitors to pay $1 for ammunition and try any shotgun on display before purchasing.
Ryan Stokes is coached up before taking his turn shooting in the Benelli-sponsored tent. The company, which was one of the sponsors and exhibitors, allowed Expo visitors to pay $1 for ammunition and try any shotgun on display before purchasing.

Aiming high: Organizer already working on 2014 Expo

Published 11:54pm Monday, July 1, 2013

Monday afternoon, Harold Barnes will still busy cleaning up from this past weekend’s Covington Sportsman’s Expo, but he was already talking about next year.

Approximately 4,500 people attended this year’s event, and that’s not counting the people who won free passes in local promotions, Barnes said.

“Last year was good. This year was beautiful,” he said.

That’s not as many people as he’d hoped to have, but it’s still more than have attended any other event here, he said.

“The storm was horrible on Friday,” he said. “I think that hurt our numbers a little bit.”

Still, he said, the majority of the event’s 140 vendors were happy, especially the food vendors.

This year’s event featured three popular TV stars from the History Channel’s “Swamp People” series, Troy Landry, his son Jacob, and Bruce Mitchell and his dog Tyler. Fans flocked to see them, and rumors immediately began that next year’s event will feature the stars of “Duck Dynasty.”

“It’s definitely something we’d consider,” Barnes said. “I’m actually already talking with The Turtleman.”

The Turtleman is from Animal Planet’s reality series “Call of the Wildman.”

Tim Bradley, a marksman who entertained crowds with his shooting demonstrations, will be back, and Barnes said he hopes to also have Byron Ferguson, who is a master with a long bow.

“He can shoot an aspirin out of the air with a long bow,” Barnes said. “This guy is so amazing to see.”

There were lots of hands-on activities, including a class for hunting licenses, and a handgun class for women. Lt. Paul Dean of the APD said 33 women completed the classes, and Deb McKathan of Pleasant  Home won the gun donated by Taurus.

Barnes said the show is drawing national attention in only its second year and he expects more support from many directions.

Still, he needs the support of local sponsors, he said, adding that he needs the commitments far in advance.

“People don’t realize we have to hire people so far in advance,” Barnes said. “I know we did a wonderful job, and people enjoyed themselves, That’s what really matters, that people were happy.”

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