Have you ever wondered what the NRA's Great American Outdoor Show (GAOS) is like? I always have, and since I am interested in learning about air rifle competition and bow hunting, I thought GAOS would be a great opportunity to see all the equipment and meet manufacturers and store representatives.
Fortunately for me, the GAOS this year was in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, which isn't too far of a drive from my starting point. The show was in the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, which is a huge indoor facility with each subject (fishing, archery, outfitters, etc.) grouped in separate huge exhibition halls. In addition, there were thousands of booths; I was particularly interested in the Pyramyd Air Gun Range and the Archery Hall.
At GAOS, Pyramyd Air worked with NRA range officers to run a 15-meter indoor air gun range. The range had a variety of reactive targets like spinning metal plates, animal silhouettes and even lollipops. Pyramyd provided a range of air rifles, including break barrels, CO2, and high pressure so shooters were able to try a variety of air rifles and pistols. After shooting several rifles and pistols, I spoke with Tyler Patner, who patiently provided advice on the various air rifle competitions and gave his recommendations on the best air rifles, and tips on events and accessories. Thanks, Tyler!
The air rifle range was great fun and I wandered the exhibition until I reached the Archery Hall. I met with folks from Team Hoyt who recommended I visit the next booth, which was Weaver's Archery. Even with the larger number of visitors, I was surprised and impressed with how friendly, helpful, and, quite frankly, calm the Weaver's Archery folks were! Keith Weaver (owner), Sheri Weaver, and Kaylene Weaver were all very knowledgeable and eager to help fit me for draw length and pull. They also gave me tips on posture and how to draw the bow. There were even lanes set up to fire some arrows. I had a great time and learned so much. Thanks, Weaver's Archery!
After the archery experience, I sampled some of the food and wandered the exhibition halls marveling at the thousands of booths for outfitters, taxidermists, equipment manufacturers, equipment sellers, and demonstrations for not only hunting and fishing, but everything associated with the great outdoors. Finally, after many hours of walking, my feet were tired but I was happy from my first experience at the NRA's Great American Outdoor Show.