Game Fair 2021 Report
What is Game Fair?
Game Fair, located at the Armstrong Ranch Kennels, 8404 161st Ave NW, City of Ramsey, MN, was started by owners, Chuck and Loreli. Delaney, in 1982. The event is held on 80 beautiful acres which includes a pond for retrieving trials, firearms range for trap and skeet shooting, large dog kennels, and paved walking paths where vendors booths are set up with anything outdoors people would want in the way of hunting and shooting sports. Game Fair is advertised as one of the largest outdoor sports shows in the nation, and annually hosts thousands of visitors to the grounds. It is truly an outstanding event to showcase the MTA and Trapping to thousands of outdoors minded people. If you have never before attended the event, it’s well worth the trip, every year!
The 2021 MTA Game Fair Booth opened for business and conversation on August 12th, as we revisited our usual spot and started the set up for this year’s show. Actual dates for the Game Fair were August 13, 14, 15 and 20, 21 and 22. With no Game Fair in 2020 due to COVID, I wondered out loud if attendance would be off at the show and the MTA Booth?
Shortly after our first full day began, there was no doubt that people had missed the Game Fair as well as attending outdoor related gatherings! Attendance was heavy and the weather cooperated. Every day was sunny, dry, and comfortable, if not a little hot.
Prior to this year’s start, I had planned to track the number of youths visiting our MTA Booth. A seemingly simple task, right? We quickly learned that counting youth attendance was not going to be easy. Some days were so busy and our booth so crowded, we had to stop counting. My notes show that our daily average was 200 plus youths per day, but actual numbers were quite a bit higher. We just didn’t have time to count each and every young person visiting. Once again, tanned furs were a fantastic attraction!
The MTA Booth displays hundreds of tanned furs for sale. Furs that are donated by you, the Minnesota Trappers and MTA members, to the Tanned Fur Project. Funds raised from the sale of Tanned Fur Project Furs are used to assist funding the MN Trapper Education Program and the “Beginner Trapper Connection”. Very worthy causes. Always consider donating some of your winter’s catch to the MTA Tanned Fur Project!
As we do every year, a great deal of our time is spent on education. It’s amazing, even with an outdoor oriented crowd, how few of the animal pelts can be identified correctly. Not only by kids, but adults, too! Once some information gets passed on regarding the type of animal fur, visitors always want to know more. Where are they found, what they do, what they eat, how common is the animal? After those questions are answered, many follow up questions are asked about trapping, in general.
Past copies of the MTA Newsletters are handed out, as is information on our website/Facebook page, North American Game Management practices, various Trapping Associations, and the MTA Trapper’s Education Program. Many an outdoors person was surprised and impressed to learn that Minnesota has a Trapper’s Education program for new trappers. This is very well received by the various outdoor user groups we met!
Spontaneous trapping demos were given, a variety of traps were on hand to show to those with questions about traps, and old trapping supply catalogs were handed out. Several people joined on the spot as new members or obtained the dates for district meetings and our next winter meeting. The interest in trapping was incredible every day of the Game Fair.
This year’s MTA Booth was staffed by former MTA President, Greg Flor, Craig Hilburn and wife, Patti, Dan Stout, Dan Collins and son, Dave, and yours truly,
– Andy & Karen Shoemaker.
Some of the most popular pelts this year include, striped skunks, red fox, coyote, otter, badger. Red Fox tails were moving well, as was blue fox and silver fox tails, red squirrel and ermine pelts were popular, as was coyote and raccoon tails.