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The Great American Outdoor Show is here with big names and big guns

2016 Great American Outdoor Show sizzle
Hunters, fishermen, birders, and other all-around outdoor enthusiasts are gathering at the Great American Outdoor Show (GAOS) in Pennsylvania this week. The event kicked off on Saturday while a good portion of America was prepping for the Big Game.

Presented by the National Rifle Association, the show aims to celebrate everything Americans love about the outdoors. Taking place at the Pennsylvania Farm Show complex in Harrisburg, guns and gear cover the 650,000 square foot space.

The show space is large enough to accommodate the outdoors indoors, the best example being the full-sized log cabin houses presented by Zook Cabins and KSM Log Homes, and which combine early American tech with modern tech. Specifically, there are iOS and Android apps to help navigate the huge space, including seminar times and dates.

About 1,100 exhibitors will be in attendance showing off their wares or, in some cases, their animals. The daily calendar is packed with celebrity speakers like former Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson, demos like “Birds of Prey,” a live bird show featuring swooping raptors, and contests like Dock Dogs Jumping. The show also hosts helpful seminars, like “Filming Your Hunts,” which offers tips and how-to’s on outdoor video production.

Archery enthusiasts may want to take aim at the 3D Bowhunter Challenge. The Challenge is open daily and breaks down archers into classes based on age and ability. The course features thirty shots with an estimated completion time of an hour and a half. Staged in the form of a tournament, the daily high scorers have the opportunity to compete in finals on Saturday, February 13 and Sunday, February 14.

If you’re into firearms, the Wall of Guns has returned. It’s both a showcase and a raffle, and it’s open every day of the show. $10 gets a ticket for a random drawing, and every 100 tickets sold triggers a drawing, and a new winner. All proceeds go to the NRA Foundation, the country’s largest charity for shooting sports. Proceeds will be used for firearm education, conservation, and marksmanship training, among other goals.

Friday will see Phil Robertson’s UnMuzzled!, a talk by the celebrity focusing on “God, guns, and country.” Based on his recent appearance at one of Ted Cruz’ Iowa rallies, his speech is expected to draw a large crowd. According to the NRA event listing, “Behind the beard and mainstream media smears, Robertson is a deep, well-read man of God who is unabashed about the challenges we face.” In any case he’s a draw, and people with tickets to his event get a free entry to the GAOS after 3:00 pm that day. That said, it hasn’t sold out at the time of this writing — but one personality does not an outdoor show make. On Saturday, country singer Justin Moore will headline at the Large Arena. Tickets are still available starting at $20. The GAOS alone is $6 for kids, $10 for seniors, $13 for adults or $22 for an adult two-day pass.

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