Monday, June 11, 2007



Kempton Fairgrounds to Host June 22-24 Outdoor Show

It’s show time.

What is arguably Pennsylvania’s most innovative outdoors show heads into its second season June 22 as the Lehigh Valley Hunting & Fishing Extravaganza opens its gates for the three-day, activity-packed expo at Kempton Fairgrounds in Berks County, a beautiful site overlooking the Blue Mountain and the home of Weaknecht’s Bow Fair for 15 summers.

The Friday noon through Sunday show will be chock full of activities for participants and spectators. Few shows offer as many hands-on activities geared to both kids and adults. Visitors can spend the day wandering the spacious fairground and stop by booths, demonstrations, displays, seminars and other attractions set up inside two large halls, under the roofed picnic pavilion and beneath the open sky. Be sure to allow sufficient time to peruse a variety of activities certain to entertain, educate and enjoy in this rain-or-shine event. From training dogs to shooting muzzleloaders, there’s something for everyone. Come early and stay late.

This is a family and “troop” experience with adults from regional and statewide sportsmen’s groups volunteering their time and talents as youth mentors of Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other youngsters attending the exposition.

“This has everything a regular sports show has – new products, sales of outdoor gear, outfitters, manufacturers with their new products and a heck of a lot more – even an outdoor flea market,” said show co-director Bob Danenhower. “It’s focused on both kids and adults. It really is a family affair.”

A partial listing of local organizations and sportsmen’s clubs participating in the second annual summer extravaganza includes: Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs; Pennsylvania Trappers Assn.; Walking Purchase and Jerry Zimmerman Chapters of he National Wild Turkey Federation; Federated Sportsmen’s Clubs of Berks County; Lehigh County Federated Sportsmen’s Club; U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla; Limerick Bowmen; Daisy BB Guns; Weaknecht Archery; Oley Valley Fish & Game; U.S. Army; Piersen Plugs; Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Comm.; Pennsylvania Game Comm; and the L.V. Wildlands Conservancy.

Helping make the show an affordable and a quality experience is substantial backing provided by Rothrock Motors of Allentown with a Diamond Sponsorship, the L.V. Chapter of Safari Club Int. with a Gold Sponsorship and Cabela’s with a Silver Sponsorship. Sponsors will also have displays set up with their products throughout the extravaganza, including the showing of Rothrock Dodge trucks and SUV’s of appeal to hunters and anglers and a mini-Cabela’s booth.

What else is on tap during the outdoor show?

• Bowhunters from miles around will be honing their skills throughout each day in the Weaknecht Bow Fair’s challenging 50-target, 3-D Course set up in woodland, hillside, rolling grass field and raised stations. The shoot will be split into two sections with archers taking aim at targets placed at moderate distances for the “Traditional Shoot” and others at longer, and more difficult distances in the “Modern Archery” division. Both types of gear may be used for novelty shoots and the popular and a challenging running deer event. An $8 fee will be charged per 50-target round along with some extra shooting, upon request. Bring your bow.

• If you’re a dog lover, a wide array of specialty breeds and their experienced trainers will demonstrate their canines’ talents, tricks and obedience training. Things get off to a howling start with the Blue Marsh Beagle Club of Summit Station and its friendly, droopy-eared rabbit-chasers, several of which will be on hand for petting and barking. Need advice on raising and training these popular dogs? Get it from club members. That’s followed with an introduction to the German Short-haired Pointer Rescue, an unusual and dedicated organization whose purpose is placing unwanted hunting dogs with families and responsible individuals. Then comes the Swamp Dog Club demonstrating the power and skills of highly-trained retrievers. Established in 1948, the club will conduct two demonstrations on Sunday. The Berks County Performing Dogs will run a challenging agility course and show visitors are invited to bring their own dogs. Attendees young and old will also be given the opportunity to try their hands in leading trained dogs through their routines. Yet another hands-and-paws must-see is the North Paws 4-H Seeing Eye Dog Puppy Club. The group places pups in temporary homes with young 4-H members prior to their intense training as seeing-eye dogs. Wrapping up the canine learning experience is Ron Leh of Cabela’s with his hunting partners, Labrador retrievers Ambie and Kenda. Ron will offer seminars on “Introducing Your Dog to Training Collars” and an “E-Collar Training Clinic.”

• Getting plenty of attention last summer was the Mr. L.V. Outdoorsmen Competition and the Miss L.V. Competition. This time around add a new Junior (age 15 and under) division to the event. Adult participants will begin competition Saturday morning with the best and most unusual events beginning in mid afternoon, when spectators should plan to be on hand. Winners will be announced about 4:30 p.m. Everything from shooting to “deer dragging” and other tests of dubious skill (the Slippery, Slimy Fish Throwing Contest, for example) will be humorous yet hard-fought. Adding zest to the contests will be awards of $300 Cabela’s “Shopping Sprees” to each of the three first place winners. The awards are donated by Cabela’s Hamburg store. Add to that $80 adult memberships in the L.V. Chapter of Safari Club International. Last year’s winners were Forrest Carlson of Kutztown and Susan Transue, Walnutport. Register on-line by June 18 or call 610-398-7609 for details.

• If, indeed, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure, bring along a few extra bucks to get in on a rich array of used and “experienced” outdoor gear of all sorts in the Outdoorsmen’s Flea Market, to be held Saturday and Sunday. Last year’s sale of hunting, fishing and related items is expected to double or triple in bargain-priced merchandise this time around. Registration cost is $20 per section per day. Check the show Website at for specifics.

• Another big draw will be the Pennsylvania Big Buck Display featuring the 2006 Lehigh County 16-point whitetail shot by Lynn Lazarus, Sr. on opening day. The buck pulled the scales to hefty 200-pounds and scored 187 Buckmasters points. Other bucks exceeding 130 Boone & Crockett or Pope & Young points will also be available for up-close study. Bring your own big buck mount for display. Bring your camera, too. The display is sponsored by Bob’s Wildlife Taxidermy of Orefield.

• Also back thanks to last year’s popularity is the Pennsylvania Federation of Black Powder Shooters’ primitive encampment with lots to do and see and good things to eat. Touching upon primitive lifestyles, mountaineer cooking, blanket trading and plenty more, the state’s “mountain men” invite all show visitors to stop by. Step back in time with federation V.P. Charles Sumpter and his cohorts and test your skills on the blackpowder shooting range or tossing tomahawks and more – including a 10-shot, paper target contest and silhouettes. Bring your own muzzleloader and give it a shot or borrow a smokepole supplied by the federation.

• Novices may want to shoulder a non-explosive Laser gun and take aim at a hi-tech screen simulating actual hunting situations such as pheasants flying or cottontails bounding under the guidance of the Pennsylvania Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs and the Federated Sportsmen’s Club of Berks County. Hunters and non-hunters alike will enjoy the experience.

• A new simulated bowhunting game of pop-up 3-D targets from Motion Targets makes its local debut. Creators forecast the new competitive shoot will soon be challenging other recreational archery games across the country. Stick an arrow in a 3-D target and another immediately springs up. For a nominal fee you can give this innovative game a try.

• Certain to be a big draw for scouts is the 2007 Scout Challenge, a 10-station competition scattered across the fairgrounds to test youngsters’ talents in BB-gun marksmanship, tomahawk tossing, casting accuracy, knot tying and other events. Courtesy of the show directors, cash prizes of $100, $50 and $25 respectively will go to the first, second and third place finishers in the Scout Challenge. Courtesy of Safari Club International, the Top Gun Girl Scout and Boy Scout winners will win $250 each for their troops. The more scouts shooting, the better the chance for a troop to return home a bit richer. The 2006 event drew boy and girl scouts from three states and 19 troops.

• Next on the shooting agenda (for kids and adults) is the 10-station, 50-target Sporting Clays Shoot. Claybirds will simulate anything from fast-moving “rabbits” or high-flying “ducks” and everything in between. Choose either 25-bird or 50-bird target stations. Bring your own shotgun or borrow a 12-, 20-, 28- or .410 gauge shotgun supplied by Oley Valley Fish & Game, says shoot director Don Hoffman. A nominal fee will be charged.

• With air guns provided by Daisy BB Guns and pellet guns, the Lehigh County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs will coordinate and instruct kids under age 16 in this fun event. And don’t miss the Turkey Hunt Challenge under the direction of the two local turkey federation chapters listed previously. Kids will shoot marshmallows at turkey decoys set up at several distances. Then there’s the Cabela’s Fishermen’s Casting Challenge and the Limerick Bowmen’s Junior Bowmen’s Challenge. Score sheets covering most contests and activities will be given to youngsters when they enter the fairgrounds. The first 100 youngsters to take a short course at the rifle range will be given a parent’s guide booklet on gun safety and receive a Jr. U.S. Shooting Team jacket patch courtesy of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

• New this time around is the U.S. Army’s contribution to the 2007 extravaganza as Sgt. First Class John Adams and his crew instruct in the proper techniques for navigating a climbing wall, firing at targets on a high-tech shooting simulator and explaining the intricacies of the corps’ newest “decked-out” Hummer. Soldiers’ spouses will add to the fun by making dog tags and camo-painting kids’ faces. Finish up your visit with some physical fitness and marksman contests with prizes to the top performers.

• Kids won’t want to miss the chance to take home a trout – at no charge --thanks to the Cedarbrook Sportsmen’s Club who will be stocking the small fairgrounds creek, pending acceptable flows and temperature conditions.

• Bring the family to the L.V. Search and Rescue’s entertaining and educational demonstrations on search, rescue, wilderness survival and canine involvement in saving lives. The new group serves the Lehigh Valley and beyond. Don’t miss it.

• Things come to a close Sunday at 5 p.m. with a used 3-D target auction which will yield some true bargains. Sale items will include everything from squirrel to coyote and deer to bear targets used in the Weaknecht Bow Shoot.

Show hours are: Friday, June 22, noon-8 p.m.; Saturday, June 23, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; and Sunday, June 24, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.

Admission is $4 for adults; kids ages 8-12, $1; kids under 8, free and uniformed troops and their leaders free. Parking is also free.

For more information on all aspects of the L.V. Hunting and Fishing Extravaganza, log on to the show Website at or call show directors Bob Danenhower, Sr. (610-398-7609) or Rick Weaknecht (610-683-7405).

Directions: Take Exit 40 off I-78 at Krumsville. Travel five miles on 737N to town of Kempton. Go through town to fairgrounds.