PERRY -- Thirty years since its inception, the Georgia Wildlife Federation’s Buckarama remains as popular as ever.
The event started in 1984 in Atlanta, while a second site was added at the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter in Perry in 1991.
With Sunday’s tickets still to be counted, officials are expecting this year’s Buckarama to draw at least 2,000 more than last year, which was about 11,000 total for the weekend.
“The show this year is ... higher than the previous two years,” said Sam Stowe, director of sportsman’s programs for the Georgia Wildlife Federation. “This year, we’ve added programs for kids through the Department of Natural Resources Law Enforcement and Wildlife departments. We have archery, hunting instruction and fishing. We have what we call a fishing rodeo. We’ve also lowered the gate prices for first responders and the military, and kids 12-under are free.”
About 137 vendors showed up for the largest event of its kind in the midstate. Most of the vendors say the show is worthwhile.
“We’ve been coming for three years, and we’re seeing real good business,” said Melissa Langford, who runs American Military Supply in Macon. “It also generates good business after the show, which is what a lot of us come here for. It’s not just sales now, but sales later. ... It’s a great show, and the people who run it do a lot of good for wildlife.”
Todd Moss, who co-owns Cracker Boy Seasonings out of Clarksville, Tennessee, said business this weekend was a little softer than usual.
“We’re pretty regular at this show,” he said. “People know about our product. We’ve been here 17 years. It’s been a little slower, but it’s been OK. People like our product.”
Jamie Korbisch of Charleston, South Carolina, brought his wife, Christy, and his 7-year-old son Dylan to the show after his father told them about it. They said it’s much better to go to a show like the Buckarama rather than a local hunting/fishing store, because the event offers so much more.
“I liked seeing the world-record mounted deer (on display),” Christy Korbisch said. “Here, you get to see a little bit of everything.”
Stowe said the event is expected to raise about $75,000 for the Georgia Wildlife Foundation, with the proceeds going toward several programs as well as keeping the organization active dealing with the state Legislature.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.