NESCOPECK — An annual hunting and rifle gun show brought close to 1,000 gun enthusiasts of all ages out to the Nescopeck Municipal Volunteer Fire Company on Saturday for a chance to buy guns and other equipment and to enjoy time spent with other sportsmen.
Bob Hettinger, president of the Nescopeck Hunting and Rifle Club, sponsor of the two-day show, was on hand to not only direct attendees, but to provide a historical backdrop of the event and the club.
“My father was one of those who started the club in 1929,” he said. “By 1930, they had a shooting range.”
Hettinger explained to attendees that the club was originally comprised of hunting enthusiasts who travelled to Potter County where there was game available to hunt.
“When they came back to the area, they needed somewhere to practice,” he said. “And so the range was built in 1930.”
Hettinger said he is especially pleased that members of Berwick High School’s rifle team were again participating in the two-day event, not only to raise money but as part of community outreach.
The team’s assistant coach, Eric Stout, said the gun show was a chance to educate the public on the Second Amendment.
“People don’t have an understanding of the importance of the Second Amendment,” he said.
“If the government gets rid of guns, it’s going to be the ‘good’ people that won’t have guns anymore,” he said. “Criminals will continue to keep their guns.”
Hettinger also takes issue with the “bad rap” he said the NRA gets from the public.
“Terrorists don’t join the NRA,” he said.
Hannah Gizenski, a member of the Berwick rifle team, said it historically has had a winning record.
“In 16 years, we’ve only had one losing season,” she said.
Glen Diehl was one of the only dealers at the show selling hand-made knives.
He careful detailed what went into the making of the knives and the sheaths available at the show.
“I use a selection of natural woods in making the knives,” he said. “I specially treat the sheaths with molten salt.”
Gary Tredinnick, of Mountain Top and an owner of Mountain Top Outdoorsman, said he does a few shows a year.
“It’s not only about selling guns,” he said. “It’s about supporting the range and keeping in touch with the shooting community.”
Hettinger looking out at the event, said although only about 15 dealers participated, they filled the entire room.
“Some of the vendors have about seven tables, selling guns, ammo and products,” he said.
Hettinger said although the cold doesn’t usually affect attendance at the event, which is in its “30-plus” year, snow and ice does.
“With this morning’s weather, it was a little slow,” he said. “But we’re picking up throughout the day.”