By Lindsay Starr Platt, The Belton Journal
On Tuesday night, more than 700 attendees packed the Bell County Expo Center Assembly Hall for the annual “Game Day Event” hosted by Temple Belton Feed & Supply and Don Ringler Autos. The annual event is a kickoff to the upcoming hunting season and a way for local businesses and organizations to showcase their merchandise and services.
“It gets bigger and better every year,” said Don Ringler, owner of Don Ringler Autos. “It’s a great way to kick off the hunting season, right before dove season, which opens on Sept. 1, and bow season. People get to come together that love the outdoors and want to help with conservation and wildlife programs in the state of Texas.”
More than 30 vendors from local businesses and organizations set up booths at the event. The booths provided information, such as the latest in hunting technology and conservation efforts. Many vendors had raffles for attendees to enter to win merchandise or services. A popular attraction at the expo was to sign up for the 2016 Venado Grande Deer Contest, which will run through deer season and have prizes for the winners.
“We enjoy being here, seeing new people and old friends. Sometimes this is the only way we get to see these folks is at this event every year,” commented Dave Haehn, founder of Hogs for a Cause.
Attendees could be seen clutching raffle ticket stubs as they waited to see if they were the lucky winners of thousands of dollars worth of prizes being given away. Hot sausage wraps were catered by Schoepf’s Barbeque and were given to attendees free of charge as they walked around and enjoyed the expo.
“Awesome, fun event. We look forward to it every year. The expo promotes hunting, youth hunting, conservation and outdoors lifestyle,” remarked Ronnie Schoepf, owner of Shoepf’s Barbeque.
“We come from an outdoors-loving family, and it is great to hear about the latest products, hunting, archery, and they always have a great speaker. The whole Lucksinger family from Belton Feed and Supply really put on a great event. Lots of people come every year, great timing right before dove and deer season.”
The key speaker for this year’s event was Warren Bluntzer, wildlife biologist and consultant. Bluntzer spoke to the audience about hunting and conservation effort of importance in Texas.
“I think this is a really great event. What they are doing for the community and helping our 4-H group with our shooting program is spectacular,” said, Keith Cutright, shooting coach, Tiger Town 4-H.