Well, last week I had the opportunity to travel with a local dealer in firearms and reloading supplies to a show in Florida. I traveled with Paul Chapman of North Georgia Reloading in Fort Oglethorpe. The day starts off on Monday, as his employees load ammo at a break-neck speed. This continues right up to Thursday, which is called “crunch day.” The name is deserved because Paul is running here and there trying to make sure that everything is in order.
I can hear him in the distant room: “Do we have enough .40-caliber; let’s get the truck loaded. HURRY, HURRY, HURRY! Where are T.C. and Pressley? Nick, I need 2,500 more .223 rounds. Don’t forget to get all of the new guns on the truck, Kim.”
Kim calls out, “I got them Paul, calm down.”
Man, what a hectic day.
The trip started at 5 a.m. on Friday. I showed up with my eyes half open and generally walking slow. This was going to be a long trip for a gun show, all the way to Ft. Myers, Fla. Paul didn’t let any grass grow under the truck while we headed south. We arrived about 4 p.m. and unloaded the truck, which took about three hours. While we were driving, I was visualizing a small show with a mediocre crowd. What I saw next was mind-blowing for this Georgia boy.
Whenever Paul started to enter the area where the gun show would be held, I could not believe my eyes. The building was massive, nothing what I had envisioned on the trip down. The grounds outside were sprawled all over the place. There was a rally race track, where cars could compete. There were model cars more than a foot long racing around this track, and I couldn’t believe how fast they were going. I talked with one of the track owners, and he said that they were preparing for the Winter Nationals.
This building was so big that many in the show were getting around on two-wheel scooters, running down the aisles. I can still hear the little horns they would blow to get you out of the way — beep, beep all day long and all weekend long. The day was Saturday, and as they opened the doors to the show, there were literally hundreds coming through.
I can hear Paul say, “Get ready.” And I remember thinking: “Get ready for what?”
I have never seen a gun show of this magnitude. I didn’t know whether to hide or run. The buying was at a fever pitch. This went on all day long. The only break I took was for a potty break.
My wife asked me, “Were you able to sit down and rest?”
“Sit down? We didn’t have time to sit down,” I said.
Well this went on through Sunday also, wide open. I have never seen such a large gun show in my life, but they tell me that this was nothing. There is one in Tulsa, Okla. that is twice as big.
And thanks to Paul for letting me tag along on this venture.
If you have never been, go out and visit a gun show; it’s a blast.
Roger Sherrill lives in Ringgold. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.