The Estevan Wildlife Federation (EWF) is bringing a gun show back to Estevan.
The resurrected event will happen on Saturday, March 29, and Sunday March 30, at the Wylie-Mitchell hall in Estevan. According to committee members Lionel Bender and Kevin Thompson, this will be the first gun show in the Energy City in 31 years.
“This gun show will be as big as Regina's,” Thompson said.
Bender said he initially hoped to have 60 tables booked for the event, but they wound up with 86, which is the most they could accommodate. Several of the exhibitors have taken multiple tables; one has booked 12.
The exhibitors will be coming from across Saskatchewan and Manitoba. Many of them are very selective with the shows that they attend, and only go to the biggest shows, Bender said.
“We didn't want to have a show when somebody else is having one,” Bender said. “There's a lot of work in booking and advertising to see who's doing what and where.”
Thompson said he has been to gun shows in other parts of the province, and he is pleased that the EWF has been able to attract numerous prominent exhibitors.
They want to have at least 1,000 people pass attend the event.
“If you don't have an audience at this venue, they're not going to come back,” said Thompson.
Bender and Thompson are optimistic that there will be 500 to 1,000 firearms. People will be able to buy, sell and trade at the show.
“We told a lot of these exhibitors to bring a lot of ammunition,” Thompson said.
Guns and ammunition won't be the only merchandise on display. Bender said there will be a couple of exhibitors who make custom knives; two taxidermists, including a world champion out of Moose Jaw; an engraver who works with guns and other surfaces; and archery displays.
There will also be a draw for three firearms.
If the event attracts enough people, then Bender and Thompson are optimistic that it will become an annual event.
Proceeds from the gun show will be directed towards the construction of a pistol range at the EWF's grounds at the Boundary Dam Recreation Site. Estevan's population is growing, and more people are using the EWF's shooting range, so the organization wants to have separate areas for rifle and pistol shooters.
A pistol range will cost about $20,000 to $25,000.