March 14th, 2007

the franklin show

Spent the weekend in Franklin, NH, at the 10th Annual Franklin Sportsman's Show. We took back highways out there and it took two and a half hours. Some of the highlights:
  • On our first night (a Friday), we got to the motel at 9:30 and tried to order a pizza. "Sorry, our delivery guy went home since we close at ten." Tilton, the city that never sleeps!
  • taxidermist license plate ISTUFFM
  • NH gun safety commission video on loop, with a kid with a horrific gunshot wound across his jawline. Also featured a ponytailed instructor shooting the shit out of water jugs. This was on a TV directly across from our booth, so every 15 minutes I got to see what a 30-06 does to a gallon jug of water, or what a handgun does to a kid's jaw.
  • sitting next to the New Hampshire Trapper's Association, where Miss New Hampshire 2006 spent half the day chitchatting with trappers while wearing a lengthy fur coat and a large pointy tiara. She passed out signed postcard headshots and glossy 8x10s. "Jim, Best wishes, Emily Hughes, Miss NH 2006" Guys came up and asked for pictures with her.
  • She was in favor of the sporting life and all that stuff. And the sportsmen were in favor of the pageant system. "You use all that stuff for your education!" She got $65,000 for winning the Miss New Hampshire pageant. She said she spent $60,000 of it on school loans.
  • There was a nutty woman who came up to the trapper table to encourage them to voice their opposition to legislation banning Greyhound racing. "If they just changed two words, for gambling, they would ban all sporting dogs, all hunting dogs, any recreational dogs, they're just gonna come for all the dogs. So vote against it! And they shouldn't ban traps either. I remember seeing the last time they wanted to ban it as cruel. Then a guy just got up and stuck his hand in a trap and said 'So this is what the big deal is all about?' It didn't even hurt him." A leghold trap would fuck up your hand pretty good. The trappers didn't mention that, they just nodded and agreed that yes, banning leghold traps was a bad idea. The nutty woman gave the exact same speech, word for word (two words, for gambling, etc) to several other people.
  • Franklin Middle School's gym was filled with banners. They had a banner for being the 1928 Class L State Football Champions.
  • North Star Guide Service: "Serving The New Hampshire Lakes Region Area".
  • Saturday afternoon got dead around 2pm. After that it was mostly vendors trying to sell to each other. I wandered around to the New Hampshire Healthy Something-or-other Commission and they had a diorama about rabies. They had a mercury cycle demo showing how mercury runoff (represented as little steel ball bearings) flowed into lakes and rivers and was picked up by fish. I was glancing at it when the guy at the booth came out and gave me a strong pitch: "I'll run it through for you!" (there were a couple knobs to get the ball bearings moving and the fish going back and forth). "It won't take a minute!" No thanks, sorry.
  • During the same lengthy lull, the Pemi Fish & Game club tried to sign me up, even though I live two hours away. "People drive two hours all the time!" He went on for ten minutes about the benefits of the raffle prizes. Sorry, I'm not going to spend $20 on a raffle ticket to possibly win a carwash from Franklin Carwash.
  • We were next to Dave Kelso, a master Maine Guide. He had a great book on moose hunting for sale, and a lot of stories. He was called to pick up a guy who was mushing in a northern maine sled dog race, and he got to him at 11pm on a bitter, bitter cold night, something like -20F. The guy's boots got wet he was babbling, not making any sense. When Dave loaded up his sled he saw a new, dry pair of $400 cabela's musher boots in it. The guy was too dumb or too cold to think of changing his boots. Dave is also as vulgar as a sailor: "We got out the top of the hill and we saw this fuckin guy goin woo woo left and right, we were like 'What the fuck is he doing,' so we got to the bottom of the fucking hill and we were right sideways from the fucking ice, Jesus Christ!"
  • The Pemi Fish & Game club had a life-sized animatronic deer head singing "Sweet Home Alabama".
  • The guide who ran Blood Mountain guides looked like Saruman with a buzz cut and a beer gut.
  • Found a nice BBQ shack in Boscawen, NH, called the Smoke Shack. I had the beef brisket with beans & fries. Very tasty. $9.95.
  • We went past Daniel Webster's church and birthplace on the way to the BBQ shack.
  • The Sausage Source. I only managed to snag one free sample. Delicious.

And an oldie but goodie that I got to retell at the show:

<fotang> is it legal to shot the moose for meat?
<Xach> fotang: there is a lottery in this state, 1000 people win a license to shoot a moose
<Xach> tens of thousands of people apply
<fotang> Xach: so the moose is tied up and then the winner fires?
<Xach> fotang: haha, are you joking?
<fotang> that's the only logical way to do it
<Xach> hahahah
<Xach> no, of course not :) the winners have to run around in the woods, find a moose, and successfully shoot it
<fotang> that is some sport!

(fotang is from Germany.)