Outdoors

Events such as Chester’s Sportsman Banquet get people ready for outdoor season

January 18, 2014 

My paternal grandfather had a love-hate relationship with the months of January and February. He would moan about having “the miseries” – his description for arthritis – and complain that the weather was so consistently bad “a body hardly dares go outside.”

Yet, he wasn’t a pessimist. Even if it was pouring rain, snowing, or bitterly cold he would soon find reasons for a bright outlook. Most of those focused on what he called “dreamin’ and schemin’.”

That phrase meant meant planning for coming spring, looking back on fond sporting memories, thumbing through the outdoor section of the Sears & Roebuck catalog, or maybe visiting the tiny local sporting goods store. Mainly, he just wanted to be connected with something which led him to dream about hunting and fishing in days to come while getting away from work dictated by Grandma Minnie.

How he would have loved an event such as the upcoming 2nd Annual Sportsman’s Banquet sponsored by the Chester Second Baptist Church. This event , like a number of similar ones held across our area each year, features Christian fellowship, shared camaraderie revolving around sport, and lots of fun.

The banquet is Saturday, Feb. 22 at the church, 729 Village Drive in Chester. Doors open at 5 p.m. The schedule includes a hearty meal and time to browse the various vendor displays.

At 6:30 p.m. Rog Rodgers, a longtime presence on the local sporting scene well-known for his prowess as a hunter, shooting instructor, videographer and guide, will talk about “Trusting the Guide.” Rodgers will draw on personal experiences to give the audience insights on how to select an appropriate guide, what to expect from a guide, and how a good guide can makethe difference between success and failure on a trip of a lifetime.

Tickets for the event are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. They are available at various area locations including Nichols Store, Farmers Exchange, and Ebenezer Grill in Rock Hill; Country Omelet in Richburg; Jamie K’s in Fort Lawn; Sam’s Equipment and G-Mart in Chester; Team Carolina Powersports in Lancaster; or through the church.

For information, call 803-367-1213 or the church offices, 803-377-7149.

In the same general time period, although appreciably farther afield, is the annual convention of the National Wild Turkey Federation. This year’s event is at the Opryland complex in Nashville, Tenn. If you are a turkey hunter and have never attended a convention, you owe it to yourself to go at least once. It is simply overwhelming.

Upwards of 700 exhibitors; non-stop seminars, calling contests and demonstrations; displays of the hundreds of entries in call-making contests; so much yelping you’ll think you have somehow gotten misplaced in a turkey’s Tower of Babel; and thousands upon thousands of sporting enthusiasts all make for an overload of all things turkey related. It will surely to have you eager for spring to arrive.

The convention is Feb 13-16. While the drive is a lengthy one, it’s a trip I make almost every year. Of course I long ago lost a corner of my soul to the wild turkey, so that explains a lot. For details go to www.nwtf.org.

Closer to home is the annual Southeast Wildlife Exposition in Charleston. If you enjoy the finer things in sport – wildlife art and sculpture, top-grade gear and appurtenances, a chance to talk with international outfitters, and fine sporting books – wandering from one venue to the nextis a pure joy. This year’s expo dates are Feb. 14-16. For details go to www.sewe.org.

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