CARTERVILLE — The 32nd Southern Illinois Celebration of National Hunting and Fishing Days will rely on the classics and the revival of another traditional event. National Hunting and Fishing Days will be held at John A. Logan College in Carterville Sept. 28-29.
After a one-year hiatus, the Tim Grounds World Open Goose Calling Championship will return.
Grounds, the legendary caller and call maker from Johnston City, died in a four-wheeler accident Sept. 30, 2018. The goose-calling championship, which he had sponsored for many years, was cancelled last year as the result of dwindling interest.
This year’s event will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sept. 29 at O’Neil Auditorium on the college campus.
“That is a big addition,” said Barry Hancock of John A. Logan College. “A gentleman by the name of Jeff Foiles, who was friends with Tim Grounds, contacted me and the committee has talked. We’ve decided to work with Jeff. He’s had some good donations coming in. We think it’s going to help beef back up our waterfowl tent.”
Tim’s son, Hunter, was also instrumental in reviving the contest.
“All the money from the entry fees from the adult contest will go to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, donated in Tim Grounds name,” said calling contest chairman Tim Gibson. “Every nickel. The sponsors are taking care of prizes, but the contest entry fees all go to St. Jude’s, so it’s a win for everybody.”
There will be four youth calling contests Saturday.
A new wrinkle this year will be the appearance of Hal Shaffer and Ken Cobb from Drop Zone TV.
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“They’ll both be coming,” Hancock said. “They’ll both be doing some seminars on scent control and archery. They’ll be bringing gifts from their sponsors to give away at the presentations they do.”
Michael Kerley of West Frankfort, who won the History Channel’s “Forged In Fire” competition will also appear. The program is a blade-making competition.
“We’ve been in contact with him,” Hancock said. “He’s got some interesting things. He’s going to set up on the parking lot and let him have his own area. He’ll be doing demonstrations. I think that will fit in with the hunting and fishing theme.
“I’m excited about the schedule. I think it will be as good or better as it’s been over the years. It’s just always been a well-run event and a well-attended event.”
Another new feature will be the unveiling of Keith Szablewski’s 48-point buck. Szablewski of Johnston City killed the deer last year. It will be part of the Whitetails and Waterfowl taxidermy booth. The buck scored 253 points.
Much of the rest of the event will look like the previous 31 incarnations.
Hancock said there will be close to 200 vendors. The Splash Dogs will be back as will the McDonald’s Kid’s Area, Bev Shofstall’s Wildlife Shows, Camo the Clown, the Buckskinner Village and a bass tank.
“To keep enthusiasm. It’s hard to beat the kid’s fishing,” Hancock said. “People want to bring their kids out to catch a fish. And, it’s almost impossible not to catch a fish.”
Another popular returning feature is Saturday’s high school bass tournament. The event featured 40 teams last year.
Show hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday. There is no admission charge.