This week was the last week of the regular deer season. Usually after deer season, I start to think about the gun show at Arden, which normally gets me through an otherwise very boring time of the year. Every year the gun show is a big draw in our area. The crowds are unbelievable. People flock to the fairgrounds for camaraderie, and maybe to see some antique guns you’ve never seen before. Very few shows in our area will draw such interest.

Well, this year it looks like winter gun shows might be canceled. I thought it might be nice to remember some past gun shows to help us through the draught. An interesting fact that makes no sense to me is that the week of the show makes the sales go up at all the other gun shops. So, here’s to the past gun shows and, hopefully, gun shows in the future.

The first gun show in our area that I remember was maybe in the 1960s in Mountain View Hotel outside of Greensburg. A friend of mine at the time, Don Seik of Eighty Four, took me there. We went in his blue Chevy pickup truck and I remember it being small in comparison to today’s shows. At this show, they had guns of that time for sale. Back then, they didn’t have paperwork or constables. If you wanted to buy a gun back, then you just had to have the money. I don’t remember there being too many other shows at that time.

In comparison, today’s show is giant with tables and vendors. People who have never been to one might not realize how interesting these shows can be. I see people there I never see anywhere else. I’ve seen guns there that I’ve never seen anywhere else. I once saw a Mannlicher Schoenauer 1952 there. I also saw it sell for $2,500 right in front of me. I have never seen one before or since.

I’ve also been privileged to see at the Arden Gun Show a few Winchester 1894, 1886, 1873 and a 52. My favorite that I’ve seen is the Remington 513 Sporter that I’ve only seen three of in my lifetime.

Of course, at the gun shows you can see state police officers, ATF officers, lawyers, husbands, wives and a whole bevy of people. Therefore, the gun show will probably be a no go this year. But it is always fun to go. Whether you people watch or gun collect you can guarantee something fun will happen.

COVID-19 has caused so many shortages this year. I know that people’s lives are more important, but it’s a fact that you cannot find ammo right now. Firearms are scarce and you cannot find much at the small gun shops. Even the big stores are low. This doesn’t help the gun show situation. I guess we need to get all our own guns out and clean them because that is about all we can do. Mine is in need of a good cleaning from all the hunting.

One time on a hunt, we really could see my buddy’s gun rusting. We were out in the rain and his gun was a newer model 70 while mine was old. We stopped to rest, and he said, “Look, I can see it rusting before my eyes.” I looked at it and said, “I better look at mine.” Well, mine was an older model with better bluing and no rust. His really had some surface rust while we were still out. We laughed all the way back to the truck. Now is the time to clean your guns.

George Block writes a weekly outdoors column for the Observer-Reporter.

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