July 23 • 11:40 AM

2007 Outdoor Weekend draws huge crowds

Visitors flock to Imlay City for Woods-N-Water News weekend event

Outdoor enthusiasts, families and friends converge on fairgrounds in Imlay City for Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend. The three-day event attracted visitors from across the state, the Midwest and Canada.

October 01, 2007
After more than 20 years and thousands of visitors, the Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend continues to draw enthusiastic crowds, estimated to exceed 15,000. Over the weekend, many more flocked to the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds to see the latest tools and techniques before heading out to the woods and water this fall.

Ray Pomaville makes the circuit of outdoor and hunting shows every year, but without a doubt, Imlay City's own event stands out in his mind.

Roslyn Owen, 11, of Lapeer cuddles one of Alex Thompson’s German shorthair pointer pups.
"It's one of the best shows around and I go to about ten every year throughout the Midwest," Pomaville said, in between talking with customers at his brother, Lou's Predator Sight booth.

"You meet a lot of wonderful people here."

Woods Editor and Show Organizer Tom Campbell said this year's show was the largest in terms of the number of exhibitors.

"Even though they came from all over Michigan and out of state, we still had a huge representation from right here in Lapeer County and surrounding towns and that's good," Campbell said.

Besides archery, the girls had other show favorites.

Almont Country Smoke House’s Steve Francis draws big crowd during game carving demonstration on Saturday.

"I like everything here, especially the puppies," Crystal said.

The ever-popular puppy tent—that's where Mike Smith and son, Austin of Riverview were headed Sunday afternoon.

"We were forbidden from bringing anything home when we left this morning, but...," Mike said with a laugh.

Bill and Bev Burgess of Lenox earned first place for their special blend of ‘Willie’s Chili’ in the Chili Cookoff this year at the Outdoor Weekend.
On Sunday, crowds gathered for the gun and land auction and secured a spot to see the final jumps in the Ultimate Air Dog competition.

The Michigan Hawking Club, with their birds on display, helped visitors learn about their unique sport. Angela Harder of Hudsonville explained how her red-tailed hawk Onyx could snatch rabbits off the ground with her powerful feet.

On Saturday, chefs whipped out their best recipes for the Camp Chili Cookoff. Bill and Bev Burgess of 'Willie's Chili' of Lenox took first place and $750 in prize money.

From Bill Yoder's live bucks and dog training seminars to a frontier encampment and an array of primitive skills on display, visitors of all ages and tastes found something of interest.

Courtney Graham’s chocolate Lab ‘Gauge’ gets some air during Ultimate Air Dog competition on Saturday.
Others had the chance to burn off some energy whether it was climbing the rock wall or dipping their poles in the trout pond.

"It's nice to see how the Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend has grown to more than just an 'outdoor show,'" Campbell said.

"It's become a pre-fall tradition, a place where people come back every year to meet friends and family."

E. Joe Schnur works on flintknapping project while Phil Klimowicz and Pat Schnur chat at the rustic encampment Saturday afternoon.
None of it's possible without the help of Woods' staff, family and friends, fair board, the police and fire departments and local businesses (Country Smoke House, Lumberjack Shack and Ray C's) and the community as a whole.

"We couldn't be happier with the success of the 21st annual Woods-N-Water News Outdoor Weekend, exhibitors were happy and show goers were happy, so I guess the pressure is on to make the 22nd annual show better." Campbell said.

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