Gun show raises nearly $7,000 for scholarships

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The Madisonville Noon Lion’s Club Gun Show was a roaring success last weekend, with more than 1,000 people attending and approximately $7,000 raised over the two-day event.

The Gun Show, held at the Kimbro Center Saturday and Sunday, showcased a wide variety of guns, hunting equipment, and even purses specially built to include a holster for concealed weapons.

Both the Lion’s Club and the City of Madisonville’s Convention and Tourism Department said the event was better than they had ever anticipated.

“We didn’t really know what we would have,” Convention and Tourism Director Roger Johnson said. “We thought we would get a reasonably good turnout – 600 people or so – but when you double that, obviously it’s great.”

Don Lasiter, Pamela Wilson, and Rae Kubiak were a few who aided in welcoming visitors and collecting entry fees on Saturday. Wilson stated, “The money will go to college scholarships for the high school students.” 

When asked how they had done by 11 a.m. Saturday, the group was already impressed, “better than we expected,” Wilson said.

The Lion’s Club hoped 500 people would attend the whole weekend; however, 700 people attended Saturday alone.

The proceeds from the weekend’s event will go towards scholarships for graduating seniors, and the event served to not only benefit that, but also help bring business to area merchants.

The Lion’s Club received aid from the City of Madisonville and Madison County in the form of Hotel/Motel Tax money to advertise the event, and everybody involved offered their sincere thanks to those municipalities and all the volunteers over the two days.

Booths stood side by side to accommodate the dealers and customers, and the variety of guns, rifles and pistols was fascinating.  Dealers displayed rifles from bolt-action to lever-action, and snub nose pistols to the famous Buntline pistol with a barrel approximately 18 inches long. 

Two-barrel shotguns, pump action shotguns, 338 mag rifles, 223 Remington, AR 15’s, and AK 47’s lay on tables sporting wood grain, camouflage, and black plastic stocks – some decaled with the Texas star or a pink zebra stripped on the stock. Snub nose Ruger pistols lay next to 22/45 semi automatics, as well as pistols that fired 45 cal. and 410 ammunition.

While some dealers sold weapons, others sold weapon parts: triggers, barrels, and bolts. Some sold ammo.  One dealer said the advantage in buying an AR 15 versus a 22 rifle is that both are good weapons, however, the AR’s 223 round would be good for coyotes and varmints because of its accuracy with yardage; however to shoot an armadillo with anything but a 22 cal. would be a waste.   

A few of the dealers included: David Blajask, from the Leon County Gun Club, who offers concealed handgun classes; Dwayne LaCour, from Buffalo, showing his personal collection; Duke’s Steel Targets –

James Duke was born and raised here in Madisonville, and makes the targets; Nicole Gilbreath assisted him Saturday. 

Duke is a rig welder by trade and started this project six months ago.  Another dealer was Jim Bullock of JBJ Custom Guns. Bullock is a gunsmith and stated, “If you can put a bullet in it, we can fix it to shoot.  There’s not too many we can’t fix.” They also restore, make parts, and refinish guns/rifles. 

Bob’s Wild West displayed several Texas Rangers pistols. When asked why the Texas Rangers had such beautiful handguns, he said, “Rangers bought their own guns. They got the fancy ones since they didn’t have uniforms.” One pistol belonged to Frank Hamer who brought down Bonnie and Clyde. 

“Hamer had killed 50 ‘bad guys’ and been wounded 23 times,” Bob said. He also had tomahawks, knives and peace pipes made by the Comanche tribe. 

All the dealers were from, or around the area, including J.R. Green from Bedias. Green displayed several old pocket watches and a dagger Hitler gave to the youth in WWII. 

Hunter Guns and Ammo, which has been in business for a year and a half, displayed beautiful military handguns. Jack Hunter stated it is only a mom and pop operation right now, but hopes to come back next year.  The Lion’s Club plans to sponsor another gun show, and several vendors have already signed up for next year’s event, anticipating another rousing success.

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