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On Jan. 4, Bonnie and I headed to Nashville to attend the ATA trade show.
This show is not open to the public and is designed to get the sporting goods manufacturers and retail sellers together to showcase new products. It gives the retailer a chance to see, handle and try out a lot of products, and then time to place orders on what products that we feel we will need for the year.
With more than 1,300 manufactures having booths at this show, just walking through looking for new items of interest is mindboggling, but the show also gives us a chance to meet up with people we have become friends with over the years and catch up on how their hunting season has gone. It’s amazing talking to some of the guys from Montana; two of these guys take 300-plus class bull elk like we take 100-inch Whitetail deer and both have more than 35 big bull elk mounted and on display.
Bonnie and I always enjoy spending time with Jarrett Lile and his wife Ruthie. Jarrett is the general manager at Trophy Taker and loves to bowhunt. Their two sons had taken a good deer each and Jarrett had taken a moose in Alaska this year and had a beautiful photo with a huge mountain lion he had taken near their home in Montana.
Another thing about this show is that almost all the bowhunting celebrities attend and make appearances at different times throughout the show. We got to meet David Blanton, Jay Gregory, Byron Ferguson and then R.J. and Jay Paul Molinere from the History Channel program “Swamp People.” R.J. and Jay Paul seemed genuinely happy to meet their fans, sign autographs and pose for pictures.
Bonnie and I volunteered to help at one of the booths, and while we were there we got to meet Jimmy Herman, the fiddle player in Carrie Underwood’s band, and the conversation centered around bowhunting.
I also had the opportunity to talk to Bob Fromme, an archery pro shop owner from California who is one of the few bowhunters who have harvested a record book animal of every North American big game species recognized by the Pope & Young Club. Bob had field-tested my favorite broadhead in the Arctic by taking a musk ox and a polar bear but our conversation was about a mutual friend, Butch, who had designed this broadhead then sold his company. We hadn’t seen Butch since he had sold the company. Bob said Butch is doing fine, has remarried and has a new baby and is back on the telecomumcations market.
For us, the trade show is the opportunity to see and buy products for the shop, to learn about better ways to tune equipment and the chance to make new friends and catch up with old ones.
Local archer and outdoorsman Gene Culver operates the Bent Arrow Archery Shop (www.bentarrowarchery.com) with his wife, Bonnie. Contact them at 549-8119 with questions.