Expo draws ‘Swamp’ fans

Published 11:39 pm Friday, June 28, 2013

Gator man in training Connor McCollough of Andalusia and his alligator.

Gator man in training Connor McCollough of Andalusia and his alligator.

You might be a fan of ‘Swamp People’ if you take your own stuffed alligator at the Covington Sportsman Expo.

Because that’s exactly what six-year-old Connor McCollough did Friday when the doors to the Kiwanis Center opened for the second annual event that is headlined by personalities from the popular History Channel show.

On Friday, famous alligator hunter Bruce Mitchell and his dog, Tyler, were in the spotlight. Today, it is Troy Landry and his son, Jacob.

And Mitchell and his four-legged friend brought out the crowd, with people from as far away as East Tennessee and Florida driving in for the event.

McCollough only had to ride about a mile from his PawPaw’s shop, Roger’s Refrigeration, though. He came decked out in overalls and a “Gator Man” do-rag.

He said he loves the show so much, he wanted to be a “gator hunter.”

“I could get ‘em,” he said.

Opp’s 9-year-old Tony Boutwell had his parents drive from Opp so he could give Mitchell a special gift – a one-of-kind “gator killin’ knife” made by Lockhart’s Johnny Harbuck.

“My favorite is Troy, but second behind that is Bruce,” Boutwell said. “I like the way they catch the gators. That’s why I gave him the knife. It’s my second favorite show. I like the way Troy talks.”

Boutwell, who did not name his first favorite show, said one of the highlights of his life was presenting Mitchell with the knife onstage at the expo.

“It was just cool,” said the rising fourth grader at Opp Elementary.

Doors will open today at 9 a.m.

Organizer Harold Barnes said the Landrys will begin with a 45-minute onstage talk at 12:15 p.m. to discuss their lives outside the show. Then, the two will hold a three-hour autograph session in the Covington Center Arena.

Admission is $10 per person, with children under 4 admitted for free. Meet-and-greets with the show stars is included in the price of admission, and memorabilia items will be on sale.

A multitude of other events will continue over the three-day period, as well as sales by more than 100 vendors.