Outdoor show draws crowds
Visitors flock to Imlay City for Woods-N-Water weekend event
|Outdoor enthusiasts, families and friends converge on fairgrounds for Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend on Sunday. The three-day event attracted visitors from across the state, the Midwest and Canada. photo by Randy Jorgensen.|
September 12, 2007IMLAY CITY — After more than 20 years and thousands of visitors, the Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend continues to draw enthusiastic crowds. Over the weekend, many more flocked to the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds to see the latest tools and techniques before heading out to the woods and water this fall.
Ray Pomaville makes the circuit of outdoor and hunting shows every year, but without a doubt, Imlay City's own event stands out in his mind.
"It's one of the best shows around and I go to about ten every year throughout the Midwest," Pomaville said, in between talking with customers at his brother, Lou's Predator Sight booth.
"You meet a lot of wonderful people here."
Some of those people include Crystal, 11, and Anna, 8, Dahooghe who took advantage of the Pomaville's kid-sized archery range.
The girls said they wandered over when their parents didn't need help at the family's booth, Johnston's Meat.
Woods Editor and Show Organizer Tom Campbell said this year's show was the largest in terms of the number of exhibitors.
"Even though they came from all over Michigan and out of state, we still had a huge representation from right here in Lapeer County and surrounding towns and that's good," Campbell said.
Besides archery, the girls had other show favorites.
"I like everything here, especially the puppies," Crystal said.
The ever-popular puppy tent—that's where Mike Smith and son, Austin of Riverview were headed Sunday afternoon.
"We were forbidden from bringing anything home when we left this morning, but...," Mike said with a laugh.
On Sunday, crowds gathered for the gun and land auction and secured a spot to see the final jumps in the Ultimate Air Dog competition.
The Michigan Hawking Club, with their birds on display, helped visitors learn about their unique sport. Angela Harder of Hudsonville explained how her red tailed hawk Onyx could snatch rabbits off the ground with her powerful feet.
On Saturday, chefs whipped out their best recipes for the Camp Chili Cookoff. Bill and Bev Burgess of 'Willie's Chili' of Lenox took first place and $750 in prize money. Second place went to father and son Michael Sr. and Michael Morse of team 'Semper Fi.' Gerry Miller and family of 'Gerry's Chili MooBrew' took home third.
A special showmanship award went to the Brubaker family team 'Hunk of Burning Love' for their Elvis attire.
From Bill Yoder's live bucks and dog training seminars to a frontier encampment and an array of primitive skills on display, visitors of all ages and tastes found something of interest.
Others had the chance to burn off some energy whether it was climbing the rock wall or dipping their poles in the trout pond.
"It's nice to see how the Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend has grown to more than just an 'outdoor show,'" Campbell said.
"It's become a pre-fall tradition, a place where people come back every year to meet friends and family."
None of it's possible without the help of Woods' staff, family and friends, fair board, the police and fire departments and local businesses (Country Smoke House, Lumberjack Shack and Ray C's) and the community as a whole.
"I don't know many other cities that would have their mayor out directing traffic, " Campbell said of Rod Warner's help.
"We couldn't be happier with the success of the 21st annual Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend, exhibitors were happy and show goers were happy, so I guess the pressure is on to make the 22nd annual show better."