Large Gun Show Brings Hundreds of Dealers to Grand Island

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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- Thousands of guns, hundreds of accessories, and even some good reading. That's what was at Fonner Park this weekend. And most of it was for sale as thousands of people went out to take a look at the 47th annual Gun & Sport Show.

The Gun & Sport Show is the only fundraiser for the Nebraska Muzzle Loading Rifle Association. They collect money from dealers paying for tables, admission, and raffles

"We use it to sponsor our club events. We have 80 acres of ground out by the Loup River by Cairo and we reenact the mountain man days of the 1830s," said Neal E. Kelley, a member of the Nebraska Muzzle Loading Rifle Association. "So we use the money to pay for land tax, stuff you need to run our club."

More than 300 tables were used by dealers looking to spend time with fellow gun hobbyists.

"Gun shows are comradery things. All the dealers get to know each other and then it's fun to come see how their businesses are doing and just kind of a get together thing for dealers," said Clark Williams, a dealer out of Hastings.

Tony Davis of Friend added, "This weekend's been really good. I meet a lot of really nice people and you meet some people from all over the county and state. We met people all the way from Chicago and we met some people from Washington D.C. and stuff like that."

The show always sees a lot of business because, according to the Muzzle Loading Rifle Association, there are plenty of hunting spots in Grand Island.

Kelley said, "Hunting opportunities along the Platte River and this Platte River Valley are good. There's a lot of deer, a lot of turkeys. I'm not sure, but I'd say a large percentage of people in Grand Island actually hunt and, of course, a lot of people aren't buying guns out here to hunt with, they're using them for home defense."

And according to dealers, it's not just Grand Island. This show sees people from around the state because, as they put it, guns are a part of life in Nebraska.

Williams said, "A lot of us grew up hunting, shooting, all that kind of stuff and so it's just part of life and it's a great thing to see all the people that do come out, because it's from all walks of life. It's not just certain ones, it's from all walks of life."