Don’t combine stubborn with stupidThe last thing Betsy said as I went out the door was, “Do you want to take the GPS?” I told her I didn’t need it. That stroke of genius cost Doug and me about four hours not to mention the extra gas and a $20 cab fare.
By: Roger Wiltz, The Daily Republic
The last thing Betsy said as I went out the door was, “Do you want to take the GPS?”
I told her I didn’t need it. That stroke of genius cost Doug and me about four hours not to mention the extra gas and a $20 cab fare.
Thursday morning, Jan. 6, Doug and I climbed into our Impala and headed to Dallas for the annual Dallas Safari Club convention in downtown Dallas. This show attracts sportsmen from around the world. Outfitters, gun makers, optics and gear companies, artists and sculptors, jewelers, clothiers, furniture builders, trophy room designers, furriers, book/magazine reps, and taxidermists occupied 1,171 booths on 338,000 square feet of floor space.
A 13-hour drive put us in Dallas via Highways 81, Interstate 135, and I-35. We passed through Wichita, Kan., and Oklahoma City, Okla., with the country changing little from Wagner to Dallas. We observed many oil pumpers across Kansas and Oklahoma, but we never saw a wind generator. Once in Dallas, we spent over two hours trying to find the Marketplace Holiday Inn before hiring a cabbie to lead us there. I came close, but I never uttered a discouraging word.
While driving around aimlessly, we came on five Dallas Police Department patrol cars parked on the curb. They were visiting outside. Though they said we were within a mile of the hotel, not one was willing to lead us there. I have nothing kind to say about the Dallas Police Department. Countless attempts to follow verbal directions failed. My poor hearing, kindled with southern accents, were partially to blame.
On Friday and Saturday mornings, we took a free shuttle from our hotel to the convention center. We left the car in the parking lot as I wanted no more of Dallas driving. We paid $30 each for two-day passes. It appeared that all the world’s gun makers were present, and we conversed with them as well as handling the finest guns made. I especially enjoyed my visit with the Hornady rep who invited me to tour the Grand Island factory. Hornady makes more than 3 million bullets a day!
Africa may have had as many outfitters present as the rest of the world combined. Following in numbers were New Zealand, Argentina, British Columbia, our American West, Texas, Alaska, Australia, Asia, Russia and Europe. All of them were especially friendly with no hard sell tactics. We didn’t get the entire show covered, and on the trip home we discussed next year.
I behaved like an irresponsible kid. As I passed through the door, rubbing shoulders with the most affluent hunters in the world, I became one of them. I totally forgot that I live on South Dakota teacher retirement and Social Security. I put a $40,000 Holland & Holland double rifle to my shoulder and visualized a charging lion or cape buffalo. I was Buwana Roger.
Part of my fantasy rides on the fact that I may undergo deep brain stimulation surgery this summer to deal with my tremor. In a few words, they will bore a hole in my skull, poke a wire into my brain and run that wire down the inside of my neck to a battery pack in my shoulder. The thought that I may once again write, draw, play my accordion, eat without food flying all over (the dog knows where to sit while I’m eating), mount my own deer head, tie a lure to my line and, yes, shoot a rifle as I once could, has me living new dreams.
I actually sat down with a professional hunter from Zimbabwe and put a hunt together. I’d take a cape buffalo and shoot another to bait my own lion. A thousand dollars a day for fourteen days — not counting trophy fees. By the time I got there and back with my trophies, I was spending $40,000. It didn’t occur to me until I put my head down that night that I was operating in a dream world. Fortunately, I didn’t sign a contract!
Other than the outfitters, I immensely enjoyed the art work, the massive tables and sofas of burl wood. And even the jewelers, though, I’m not much for jewelry. I actually talked with a Montana jeweler about making me a custom ring mounted with my own elk tooth. The taxidermy alone was worth the trip. Oh, but we had a fine time!
One doesn’t have to be a member to attend the DSC convention. If you think you might enjoy what I’ve talked about, you should go.
Originally four of us were going, but conflicts came along. With four sharing expenses, this trip could be done for not much more than $100 apiece.
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Remington Arms is under fire. It involves the trigger mechanism of their Model 700 bolt-action rifle — arguably the most popular high power rifle ever built. I talked to the Remington people in Dallas about it and I’ll share that with you next week.
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