Buckmasters Expo hits bulls-eye

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 21, 2002

The ninth annual Buckmasters Expo held August 16-18

at the Montgomery Civic Center offered a pleasant surprise for officials.

"Based on the state of the economy, we expected attendance to be way down," said Buckmasters founder and CEO Jackie Bushman. "But, even though the economy is down, we had about the same number of people coming into the show as we did last year -- and last year was a record year for us."

"Attendance this year was approximately 38,000 compared to approximately 40,000 last year, but we had three doors without turnstiles on Friday and we had no turnstiles at the entrance to the Riverfront Park activities during the event," Bushman said.

"Food collections were down just a bit, but cash donations have been up the last two years," he said. "Last year a lot of people brought more than one can of food, but it seemed that fewer people were bringing multiple cans this year and more people are paying the one-dollar fee instead. We collected 31,744 pounds of food compared to 36,000 last year. Cash donations came to $4,734 this year. Last year they were $3,948 and in 2000 they were only $1,435."

Admission to the annual event is $1 or at least one can of food

which goes to the Montgomery Area Food Bank officials on-site. Parke Hinman, executive director of the Montgomery Area Food Bank, says the food donations and dollars from the admissions will provide the major portion of approximately 113,335 meals for the needy based on a formula that assumes one meal for each three-fourths pound. Hinman says the Bank can feed approximately 15 people for every $1 donation.

Exhibitors reported active sales all weekend and food sales at the concession stands were up by 8 percent.

Hunters did more than spend money at the show. They also donated 65 pints of blood to Life South Community Blood Centers

Montgomery Region.

One of the highlights of the show, the Young Bucks Outdoors pavilion, attracted approximately 26,000 people to build free birdfeeders, learn to shoot bows and arrows, play interactive games and learn about the outdoors.

Daisy officials say they and the USA Olympic Shooting Team assisted approximately 4,000 kids learning to safely shoot pellet guns in the Young Bucks Outdoors pavilion. Time was a limiting factor on that exhibit -- each child received instruction and then had approximately four practice shots.

Approximately 7,500 people participated in the Buckmasters activities at Riverfront Park, including between 100 and 200 who got shooting instruction and practice with the adult version of the Daisy pellet gun. Triton boats provided more than 2,200 free bass boat rides.

The unique three-day event provides a consumer show; the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor world championship archery tournament; the Young Bucks Outdoors kids activity center; and

adult hands-on outdoors activities at Riverfront Park complete with free Triton bass boat rides.

Additional activities included hunter safety classes, antler scoring, raffles, a golf tournament and a concert by country music star Clay Walker.