By Keith Gushard
WEST MEAD TOWNSHIP —
Young and old, male and female they came to Antlers and Anglers drawn by a common theme — a love of the outdoors.
“It’s beautiful,” said Jarrod Rodgers, 11, of Cranberry on why he likes the outdoors. “I love being outside and go hunting.”
Rodgers was one of hundreds of people to turn out Saturday at the Crawford County Fairgrounds for the two-day Antlers and Anglers sportsman’s showcase event. It continues today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the fairgrounds, east of Meadville in West Mead Township.
Presented by Armstrong, the area’s cable television provider, proceeds from the admission fee benefit area food banks, said Joan Kocan, marketing coordinator for Armstrong. Admission is $2 for adults or two non-perishable food items. Saturday’s first day saw more than 600 adults attending, raising more than $1,200 plus more than 250 pounds in non-perishable food was donated, Kocan said.
The event features hunting seminars, wildlife rehabilitation exhibits, wild game cooking and dog training, fishing and archery demonstrations.
Kids like Rodgers were lined up to take turns drawing back a small compound bow and letting an arrow fly at practice targets.
“It’s really a good chance to introduce kids to archery,” said Charles Bulick with Jerbowden Traditional Archery of Hadley. “It’s a good past time for kids. They develop skills like hand and eye coordination.”
It also offered a chance to meet outdoor personalities like Neal Rohrbach of the Outdoor Channel and Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman and a full-time freelance outdoors writer and syndicated radio host.
“You don’t need a fancy rod and reel to fish,” Armitage told a group of children at a midday seminar, noting something as simple as cane or bamboo pole, fishing line and hook and bobber can be used.
He offered his young audience and their parents some tips and advice in a lively half-hour interactive question and answer session.
The seminar culminated with Armitage drawing one youngster — Molly Lynch of Meadville — up with him to the top of the Hawg Trough — a 2,500-gallon traveling aquarium to try her luck at fishing. Lynch was able to hook one using a minnow, but unable to haul it in as Armitage snagged the line on a tree limb in the tank while helping her.
“I want to go fishing,” Lynch said following her first experience fishing. “It was fun. It’s something everybody can do.”
Getting the next generation interested in fishing and the outdoors is the goal, said Armitage because it helps build family relationships.
“It one of several activities to get kids outside and away from computers and TV,” he said. “They may not focus on fishing, but let them play with the bait, climb the trees and throw rocks.”
It leads to family bonding said Armitage.
“You get a chance to talk with your kids and do something together,” he said.
Also, not all kids like competitive sports like football, baseball or basketball, but may enjoy fishing.
“It’s something you can enjoy even in old age,” he said of fishing. “You get to enjoy the outdoors and enjoy life.”
The Antlers and Anglers sportsman’s showcase continues today from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Crawford County Fairgrounds in West Mead Township, east of Meadville. Admission is $2 for adults or two non-perishable food items. Proceeds benefit area food banks.
Seminars today are:
- 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. Sue DeArment of Tamarack Wildlife and Rehabilitation Center
- Noon to 12:30 p.m. Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Kid’s Fishing 411
- 12:45 to 1:15 p.m. Neal Rohrbach of The Outdoor Channel, Hunting and Fishing Questions and Answers
- 1:30 to 2 p.m. Denny Mears of Jerbowden and Trophy Taggers, Archery and Bow Making Past to the Present
- 2:15 to 2:45 p.m. Dan Armitage, Ice Fishing 411
- 3 to 3:30 p.m. Bud Shuffstall, attorney with Northwest Savings Bank, Shale Gas Leasing in northwest Pennsylvania
- 3:45 to 4:15 p.m. Terry Ferrell of Hook, Line and Stitch, Fly Tying
- 4:30 to 5 p.m. Tom Bechdel, Hunting the Eastern Coyote.
Keith Gushard can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.