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By Susan Jones
The threat of rain and eventual gully washer didn’t seem to dampen the spirits of anyone attending Saturday’s Sportsmen’s Expo for Life in Red Oak, VA. Fifty-five vendors set up around and beneath the large tents surrounding Red Oak Excavating to share their love of the great outdoors. From fishing rods and reels to cooking rubs and spices, custom painted corn-hole boards to jewelry, there was something for everyone.
By mid-afternoon the event was in full swing. SoVA Realty sponsored the popular fishing pond that allowed anglers of all ages an opportunity to hook a real live big one. The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries supplied the hunting simulator for those who wanted to virtually experience a big game hunt. Buggs Island Archery sponsored the archery shoot and their team was quick on the draw with a whole assortment of bows.
Over 1300 people visited the Sportsmen’s Expo for Life throughout the day and into the evening. The Mecklenburg and Charlotte Counties Relay for Life provided stew for dinner. The aroma of the cooking stew added to the outdoor experience and provided warmth for the body as the rain began to fall. Attendees moved inside the cavernous Red Oak Excavating building to learn of the winners of the big buck contest, as well as to hear guest speakers Lee McBride and Kirt Thomas. McBride, a returning speaker to the Sportmen’s Expo, travels the country as a comedian, storyteller, evangelist, and preacher, telling real life stories and teaching important truths while using humor to connect with people.
Kirt Thomas shared his personal story of living life after becoming a wheelchair bound paraplegic. An avid outdoorsman, he soon realized that hunting in a wheelchair would require overcoming huge obstacles. After his accident and his first hunting season in a wheelchair, a new dream began to etch itself into Kirk’s mind. A renewed sense of purpose and his love of the outdoors led Thomas to create Wheelin’ Sportsman of America—an organization designed to increase awareness, resources and opportunities for people with disabilities to enjoy the outdoors.
Sportsmen’s Expo 4 is already in the planning stages for next year. Save the date for a family friendly wholesome afternoon of Faith, Family and Fun.