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Hunters Bar-B-Q & Expo kick off 07-08 sea

By Judith Pannebaker

Hang on to yer hats. It’s time for another of Bandera’s iconic celebrations, Hunters Opening Weekend, featuring the world famous Hunter’s Bar-B-Q & Outdoor Expo, sponsored by the Bandera County Chamber of Commerce.

The event kicked-off Thursday, Oct. 25, with the Chamber’s “Hunters Weekend Mixer” held after a combination grand opening and ribbon cutting for Comet Cleaners and Laundry on Highway 16 South.

According to owner Alex Donalson and manager Rachel Wyman, their new business has become known for fast and friendly service. As the Cowboy Capital’s only same-day cleaners, Comet Cleaners offers a covered drive-thru, as well as a 24-hour drop box, for customers’ convenience. Donalson and Wyman blend a friendly, quaint atmosphere with technologically advanced equipment, allowing Comet Cleaners to offer the amenities of a metropolitan business to Bandera County residents.

During the kick-off mixer, the Bandera County Courier debuted its popular 2007 Hunting Guide. This fully functional aid for area hunters features special articles by Texas Game Warden Rod Chalmers and Steve Thornell, editor of Texas Hunting News magazine; a lunar calendar with moon phases for November, December and January; and descriptions and color pictures of exotic game found locally, among other useful information.
Copies of the 2007 Hunting Guide are available at the Courier office, 1210 Hackberry Street; Chamber office, 331 Main Street; and on racks county-wide. In addition, the Chamber will distribute the publication at tomorrow’s Hunters Bar-B-Q & Expo.

The 45th edition of the popular event takes place Friday, Nov. 2, at the Mansfield Park Show Barn on Highway 16 North. The expo begins at 3 pm and offers everything necessary for “baggin’ a big one” this season, including innovative and state-of-the-art outdoor supplies and equipment.

That takes care of the expo portion of the event; the other important component is, of course, food. Serving begins at 5:30 pm and ends when the last tasty morsel is dished out - which usually occurs sooner rather than later. The meal includes brisket and sausage - and all the trimmin’s - as well as dessert and tea or coffee. Tickets for ages 12 and older are $10 while kids from three to 12 eat for $8.

Merchandise for this year’s raffle - always a big draw - includes a 243 Kimber Bolt Action Rifle, donated by Scott Asher Custom Homes and L&L Concrete; new 50-gallon deer feeder with timer from Scott Asher Custom Homes; a five-night Caribbean cruise for two, donated by Flying L Guest Ranch; new spacious deer blind, donated by 84 Lumber; and the grand prize, a camouflage Kawasaki 4X4 Prairie 360 ATV.

Raffle tickets are available at the Chamber office; Fool Moon Café, 204 Main Street; and Brick’s River Café, 1205 North Main Street.

Also on tap will be great “Texas-sized” silent and live auctions. Items set to be hammered down to the highest bidder include two cases of Bandera Salsa, two weekend retreats at the River Front Motel, spray-in bed liner from Bandera Paint and Body, American Flag from Rep. Lamar Smith, Zuni-carved knife from American Indian Jewelry Store, two-night stay at Bandera Station, two $100 gift certificates from Brick’s River Café and a Savage Stevens Bolt Action Rifle from Bandera Gun Club, among other items.

The High Street Band provides toe-tappin’ sounds. Also scheduled is an Outdoor Art Expo, highlighting the work of students from the Bandera Independent School District. Parents, take note, there’s also plenty of activities scheduled for the young ‘uns.

Before taking leave of the 2007 Hunters Bar-B-Q & Outdoor Expo, hunters will want to enter the Big Buck Contest.
Registration is $20 and must be completed by the close of the expo. Judging will be done from “sun-up till sun-down” in the parking lot of True Value Hardware, 1006 Main Street, on opening day of hunting season.

As the Chamber’s only fundraising event, Hunters Bar-B-Q & Expo attracts approximately 2,000 visitors and locals each year.
In the past, local ranchers fed hungry hunters after their long days on the trail of local whitetail. In 1962, the Chamber initiated the first Hunters Bar-B-Q in combination with an outdoor expo. The event became an instantaneous success. Through the decades, the Hunters Bar-B-Q & Expo grew into one of Bandera County’s premier attractions.

Its combination of great food, live entertainment, expo displays, hunter-centric raffle and auction prizes and down-home atmosphere makes this a “don’t miss” event.