Hunters and gun enthusiasts from near and far flocked to Stettler this past weekend for the annual Stettler Gun Show, held at the Stettler Agriplex.
The show, which ran Saturday, Sept. 10 and Sunday, Sept. 11, has taken place in Stettler for about a decade now, and was started by John Vaughan.
When Vaughan passed away, Tina and Bruce Tauber took over running the popular, medium-sized gun show.
Despite the name, guns and ammunition were not the only items for sale, but also on display were firearms-related accessories, which made up the majority of the booths at the event.
Brady Hayes travelled to Stettler from Calgary to sell part of his personal collection.
About 25 years ago he fell seriously ill and couldn’t hunt, so he sold off the vast majority of his collection, he explained. He used the money to buy his wife of 51 years a new wedding ring.
“The first one was $150,” he explained. “She deserved better than that.”
This weekend, he had his higher-end rifles on display, firearms that had never been used for anything other than simple shooting.
“These have never been hunted,” he confessed, explaining that since he had other rifles that were less expensive, he had used those instead of the elite versions he had at the show.
The big-game hunter is back in the bush, hunting down elk and moose when he’s able to get tags, otherwise he puts his name in the hat for deer tags.
While Hayes said he found it hard to part with some of his collection, he said he knew he had more than he could ever use.
“Plus, my wife is happy when I come home with less,” he added with a laugh.
Across the aisle, Richard Biggs, from Lusana, had his display of ammunition. Biggs collects ammunition, which means he often has cases that are full except for the two bullets or shells removed to augment his hobby.
His display featured everything from modern bullets to older ammo, live bullets and empty casings.
“I’ve been collecting about 10 years,” he explained. “I guess it’s a heritage thing – my grandfather brought some of these with him when he came here.”
The firearms on display varied in form from rifle to handgun, from real wood to plastic or laminate, from antique or well-used to brand new.
“It’s a pretty straight-forward thing,” Bruce Tauber said. “A swap meet in some ways, people come to sell, people come to buy.”
In order to sell firearms at the show, vendors must be licensed and are required by law to ensure buyers have valid firearms licences. While several buyers left the show with rifles or shotguns, those who purchased handguns will have to wait a few weeks before they can take their purchase home.
Both buyers and sellers seemed to enjoy the show, Tauber noted, explaining that with 43 vendors and 127 tables sold, the show performed better than last year. About 600 people came through the doors, a number also surpassing the 2015 show.
“We’ll be back next year,” Tauber promised.