At least 2,500 hunting and outdoor enthusiasts are expected to flock to the The Lloydminster Gun and Sportsman Show, which is coming to the Servus Sports Centre on the Jan. 24 to 25 weekend.
The event is put on by the Lloydminster and District Fish and Game Association (LDFGA) and will feature over 200 exhibitor tables and everyone who attends enters a draw with a chance to win a big game hunting rifle.
LDFGA treasurer Larry Chambers says the gun show used to be held at the Exhibition Grounds, but it moved last year when CBC’s Hockey Day in Canada commandeered the longtime venue.
“Previous to last year it was always at the exhibition. It stared out at the Wild Rose (Pavilion at the Exhibition) but it kept growing bigger and bigger, so at the end we had all of the rooms at the Exhibition,” he said. “We’ve gone with Servus (Sports) Centre. It worked out quite well. It will be in both of the field houses.”
Chambers says in the past as many as 3,200 people have attended the gun show over the course of the weekend. He estimates that at least 2,500 people from both sides of the border will attend the event.
“It’s hard to judge whether the downturn in the economy is going to make any difference or not at this point,” Chambers said.
“They’ll certainly drive an hour or two to come. I know people have come from as far as Kindersley, St. Paul, Cold Lake, Battleford, et cetera. But the majority are local.”
Chambers says exhibitors from across Western Canada will be present. Some exhibitions will be historical, displaying antique firearms and artifacts relating to Lloydminster’s past. Other booths will be selling equipment like guns, ammunition, repair parts and army surplus gear.
“It will be well over 200 exhibitor tables, about 50-plus exhibitors. I think one or two might actually be from Manitoba, but certainly all over Saskatchewan and Alberta and I think there are one or two from BC,” he said.
Although the Gun Show is growing, Chambers says he doesn’t want it to change too much and lose sight of its purpose.
“The original Gun Show ... was pretty much specifically gun and gun-related,” he said. “We don’t encourage a lot of things that are too different. We don’t want the show to become a trade show like the Exhibition has where [you’re] selling vacuum cleaners.”
General admission is $10 and children 12 and under are free if accompanied by an adult. The Gun Show will run on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The draw for the hunting rifle will be made at the LDFGA Awards Banquet on Jan. 31. If the winner does not have a firearms Possession and Acquisition Licence, they will instead receive a cash payout.