Hunter Generosity Continues to Shine at the 22nd Annual Buckmasters Expo
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (Aug. 19, 2015) – There are two sure signs that fall is just around the corner: the start of college football and the Buckmasters Expo. Football fans have to wait another week or so, but sportsmen enjoyed the three-day Expo last weekend.
“Our 22nd Expo was rockin’ again this year,” said Buckmasters founder Jackie Bushman. “Sportsmen and their families really make it special.
“It’s a family event,” Bushman explained. “We not only want dads and moms to come, but also their children. That’s why, in addition to the can of food admission, we always have a special area for kids. While similar shows throughout the country charge anywhere from $10 to $20 per person, we want our show to be both affordable – to entice whole families to come – and a means to help the less fortunate.”
Approximately 25,000 deer hunters from across Alabama and many other states came through the doors, hoping to pick up bargains as they shopped for gear for the upcoming seasons. But vendor booths are just a small part of the Expo. It’s a family event where hunters come together to celebrate their sport, have fun and show compassion for those less fortunate.
Thanks to the support of Buckmasters’ national and local sponsors, admission to the Expo is just a can of food or a $1 donation, split between The Salvation Army and Friendship Mission. Many attendees bring extra cans, and this year’s donations will provide meals for more than 50,000 people.
“For the many thousands of individuals and families from Montgomery’s river region, the Salvation Army would like to thank Buckmasters for providing this great opportunity for their members and guests to donate canned goods during last weekend’s Expo. This food will provide many meals to those who might otherwise go hungry,” said Major Ed Strong. “We will use this food to distribute from our food pantry throughout the year.”
The Friendship Mission will also benefit from the donated food. “Friendship Mission would like to thank Buckmasters for the amazing gifts of canned goods. This event truly allows us to feed more than 120,000 meals per year to the homeless and poor. With this great savings, Friendship is able to apply this money to other programs that are greatly needed in the homeless community,” said Tammy Middleton, the agency’s executive director.
Another Expo highlight is the Buckmasters Top Bow Indoor World Championship. Each year, the country’s best archers converge on Montgomery in a quest for the Buckmasters title. Four days of intense competition whittle down the shooters until two finalists go head-to-head for the title on Sunday afternoon. The 2015 Top Bow champion is Randy Hendrix of North Carolina.
“The Top Bow competition is one of the toughest, most fun and highest-paying archery tournaments in the country,” Bushman said. “It’s a real treat to get to see these world-class shooters compete against each other and the tough course we throw at them.”
The Top Bow finals are filmed and will be aired on Outdoor Channel as part of this season’s “Buckmasters” TV show. We were excited to partner with ACES 4-H program and introduce the Alabama 4-H Buckmasters Invitational Tournament Series. Youth and adults from five states participated in archery and rifle tournaments.
The 4-H Buckmasters Invitational Archery Tournament and a one-day 4-H Buckmasters Open Fun Shoot were held at Montgomery’s Sportsplex downtown Thursday through Saturday with approximately 120 competitors in both matches. Kids came from all over the Southeast, and 12 finalists were paired with a pro archer in a shoot-off at the Expo on Sunday.
“The partnership between Extension and Buckmasters is an opportunity to provide today’s sportsmen with scientific information on wildlife management, and the 4H Tournament helps create tomorrow’s leaders in the field,” said Dr. Gary Lemme, Extension director.
In addition to the archery tournament, the Young Bucks area had kids hopping to the music while checking out the reptiles and raptors exhibit. They also enjoyed face painting, laser target shooting and other fun activities.
Families enjoyed the Harriott II Riverboat attraction, which gave free 45-minute riverboat cruises to more than 1,000 Expo attendees.
Despite the August heat, visitors brought nearly five dozen deer mounts and racks to be measured at this year’s show. In addition to evaluating some of Alabama’s finest whitetails, BTR scorers also taped trophies from Kentucky, Florida, Illinois, Texas and Minnesota. And, as usual, entry fees were waived for the many that qualified for the record book.
Other 2015 Expo highlights included:
• ProBox Rocks 80x30’ semi rig showcasing the latest audio and lighting systems for ATVs, UTVs and jeeps
• Nationwide’s NASCAR racing simulator for race fans
• Nationwide’s #88 Dale Earnhardt Jr. show car
• River Region Partner Wind Creek Hospitality “Good to Go” Food truck, which donated proceeds from food or money raised to local charities
• NAPA’s #9 Chase Elliott show car
• Saturday night concert with country music group Diamond Rio and opening act local Davis Nix
• Appearances by “Bone Collector” Michael Waddell and Bill Jordan, founder of Realtree camouflage
“Even with the great exhibitors, the show attractions and our hard work, we couldn’t pull off this event without the support of Mayor Todd Strange and the city of Montgomery, the Montgomery County Commission, Chamber of Commerce, AUM Baseball team/coaches and our national and local sponsors,” Bushman said. “Everyone involved goes above and beyond to make the Expo happen, and we want them to know how much we appreciate their support.”
Next year’s Expo will be Aug. 19-21. Exhibitors interested in participating can contact Donna Gross at (334) 387-2619 or email@example.com.
2015 Buckmasters Expo National and Local Sponsors: ACES • Alabama Wildlife Federal • Barnett Crossbows • Buck Knives • Caldwell Shooting Supplies • Creek Casino Montgomery • CVA • Easton • Federal Premium Ammunition • Gamo Outdoor USA • Hodgdon Powder • Hunter Safety System • Mathews • Millennium Treestands • Miller Lite • Muzzy Broadheads • NAPA • Nationwide • Nikon Sport Optics • Outdoor Channel • Plano • Realtree • Savage Arms • Scentlok • Spot Hogg Bowsights • Stivers Ford • Streamlight • The Firminator • Tink's • Tru-Fire • Wildgame Innovations Trail Cameras • WLWI • WSFA • Yamaha Outdoors