Buckmasters Expo Day 1 in the books

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The first day of the 25th annual Buckmasters Expo is in the books.

Hundreds of vendors packed the Montgomery Convention Center and thousands of people were in attendance on Friday.

Jackie Bushman is the founder of Buckmasters. He said he can't believe how much the expo has grown over the past 25 years.

"As long as everybody supports it, we'll be here, that's the bottom line," said Bushman.

The Buckmasters Expo is one of the largest hunting consumer shows in the country, with roughly 300 vendors on site.

"We could take more but the convention center only takes 300 and we got it full," Bushman said.

Some even refer to the expo as a "hunter's paradise" because it offers the latest and greatest hunting merchandise.

"We carry everything from tree stands, guns, ammo scopes, range finders, you name it we got it," said The Minnow Bucket owner Ken Ownens.

Ownens has had a booth at the Buckmasters Expo for the past 25 years.

"We've been here at the show since it was established. We come year after year after year," said Ownens. "It's a good place to meet and greet new customers and expand your business."

But the expo isn't just about shopping for gear, it's a celebration of the outdoor lifestyle.

"Anything for the outdoors, you know. If you're an outdoorsman we've got everything," Bushman said.

Even if you're not a hunter, the expo has something for everyone.

"If you're not even an outdoorsman, this is a great place to come down and shop for somebody in your family that is an outdoors person, so you got a lot of the main manufactures here that you don't see in other shows, and you can talk to the manufacturer of a certain product, and step over and buy that product from a local dealer, so that's the advantage we have," Bushman said.

Aside from the retailers and exhibitors, there are celebrities at the expo as well like Troy and Jacob Landry from TV's "Swamp People." Matt Duff from "Major League Bowhunter" will be there, and David Blanton and Nate Hosie from "Headhunters TV" will also be at the expo.

On Saturday, there will be a concert featuring 70s rock legend Mark Farner, one of the members of Grand Funk Railroad.

The cost of admission is just a one dollar donation or a can of food per person, which will be donated to the Salvation Army and Friendship Mission.

The expo runs from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

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