The Easton-Newberry Sports Complex and Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission kicked off the first Easton Foundations Hunting Expo with a bang last Saturday, playing host to beaucoup vendors, a huge turnout and enough activities and entertainment to last the whole weekend. The show provided a variety of treats for guests of all ages, including live music, excellent food, hands-on archery activities, and games like catfish lassoing, just to name a few.
Doors opened the morning of Saturday, August 27th and the event continued through to the following Sunday. Companies from all realms of hunting and shooting arrived the night before to begin setting up their various displays throughout the gymnasium and air-conditioned indoor archery range, while food vendors, musicians and other industry professionals opened up shop outside near the 90-meter outdoor range.
Guests came in droves early Saturday morning and on through Sunday, about 2,500 by weekends’ end. 93.7 K-Country entertained the masses early on Saturday.
In the afternoon, guests enjoyed barbeque ribs and cheeseburgers while listening to Bryce Carlisle and his band play both originals and classic country favorites, while others stayed cool with iced drinks and lemonade and spoke one-on-one with The Season’s Justin Martin.
The University of Florida Department of Wildlife Management and Ecology was on hand to entertain youngsters with Kid Crafts and even brought a live baby alligator for display and, for those brave enough, to touch. Some brought whitetail mounts from past hunts for official scoring by Pope & Young, who provided legitimacy for the bragging rights of many a happy hunter.
Thousands of dollars in prizes were given away to dozens of lucky raffle winners. Among the prizes included a total of nine bows donated by Hoyt, Mathews, Bear, and Deer Camp. Hog Hunts were donated by both the Ross Hammock Ranch and Tiger Island and a Bow Fishing Charter was generously donated by Florida Bow Fishing. Other prizes included a Muzzy Pro-Extreme Bow Fishing Kit & X-Celerator Drop-away Arrow Rest, One-Year Memberships to the Easton-Newberry Sports Complex, Easton Broad-head Arrows, and many other items including hats, shirts, animal calls, and books.
A handful of local hunters earned their Bow Hunter’s Safety Certification from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who hosted a training class and shoot on Saturday morning. Newberry 3d Club took registrations and provided scoring for the 30-target 3-d range assembled along the West side of the property on Saturday, while others enjoyed a casual shoot on the remaining 10-target range the following Sunday. Those who participated in the 3-d shoot were also entered into a raffle for a 3-d buck giveaway donated by Lancaster Archery.
Easton Foundations’ very own Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) team was available throughout the weekend for demonstration and to introduce the world of competitive archery with a booth in the indoor range and a casual shoot outside, while the National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) held a friendly competition on the outdoor range. Future archers and ambitious guests tried their hand at the Try Archery Tent, headed by the facility’s own JOAD member and recent National Champion, Ryan Oliver.
The Easton-Newberry Sports Complex would like to thank Country Kitchen, Spring Hill Suites, Pawn Pro Shop, Residence Inn, and all vendors and guests who helped make the first annual Easton Foundations Hunting Expo an overwhelming success. Easton Foundations looks forward to repeating the event next year and encourages all to check out the many events planned in the meantime.
The Easton Newberry Sports Complex was developed by Easton Foundations and the City of Newberry. The facility opened in 2009 and is dedicated to furthering the sport and introducing archery to a broader audience. The complex has a wide variety of target and 3D archery ranges. The portion of the site dedicated to archery caters to all skill levels and features state-of-the-art indoor & outdoor styles of archery.
If you’d like more information about this event or Easton Newberry Sports Complex/The Easton Foundation, please call 352-472-2388 or visit EastonNewberrySportsComplex.com