UAF gives local residents two tickets to the gun show
Fred Monrean Jr./Sun Star Reporter
Oct. 11, 2011
Weapons, body armor, homemade snacks and jewelry covered rows of tables at the Tanana Valley Rifle and Pistol Club’s semiannual gun show in the Patty Center Oct. 8 and Oct. 9. Some venders sported cowboy-style clothing and curly mustaches and most people were dressed casually, although there were also several people dressed in military-style clothing.
“We get a great cross-section of town,” Lisa Rogers-Peter said. She has attended the gun show for approximately seven years to sell her locally-produced honey and display her art. “I like it, it’s a very affordable event,” she said.
University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) students also attended the event. “I’m a collector, I love guns and I’m interested in seeing what they have,” UAF senior Alex Cloward said while examining a weapon. “Mostly I’m looking for bear protection.”
Members of the West Valley Rifle Team raised money for their “ammo fund” by helping the venders. Bearing trays laden with coffee and snacks, a few members made their way around the tables, soliciting donations from busy venders.
“The community is really supportive; we have people wander up to volunteer time, to help coach, and to donate old equipment,” said Amy Steiner, one of the team’s two coaches. Team members surrounded her table, which was covered in many homemade food items. Having a presence at the gun show “also reminds people that West Valley still has a rifle team,” Steiner said.
The Tanana Valley Rifle and Pistol Club has been putting on the event for over 30 years. The club has been in existence since 1916, and is the oldest sportsmen’s club in the state, according to Grant Lewis, the group’s president. Volunteers run the gun show. Lewis estimates that between 1,200 and 1,500 people attended the two-day event. He wasn’t sure how many venders there were, he said. “We have 145 tables, but some venders have multiple tables,” he said.
According to Lewis, every firearm is carefully inspected to ensure it is unloaded. Then it is ether disabled by being tied open or has a visible marker (such as a colored string) run through the barrel so anyone can see that it is safe.