Side-by-side shotgunners gather in Sanford

CorrespondentApril 24, 2013 

  • If you go

    Southern Side-By-Side Championships and Exhibition Spring Classic

    When: competition 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Saturday; 9-3 Sunday; exhibition 9-5 daily

    Where: Deep River Sporting Clays, 284 Cletus Hall Road, Sanford

    Fee: spectators free, competitors vary; Saturday barbecue and bluegrass $20

    Learn more: 919-774-7080, www.deepriver.net

Whether you’re merely curious about Grandpa’s old shotgun in the back of a closet or you’re an expert shooter of high-end shotguns, you’ll find competition and information this weekend at Deep River Sporting Clays and Shooting School.

The facility near Sanford in Lee County will host its 14th annual Southern Side-By-Side Championship and Exhibition Spring Classic from Friday through Sunday. More than 75 vendors and exhibitors will fill more than 26,000 square feet of exhibition space for “arguably the biggest side-by-side event of its type in the country,” owner Bill Kempffer said Monday.

“It’s a great opportunity to see stuff that you can’t normally see anywhere in North Carolina,” Kempffer said. “… There are going to be people from England, Germany, Spain and Italy; it’s free; and it’s open – you can participate if you want.”

The event also offers opportunities to learn about shooting sports from vendors and exhibitors who include gun makers, gun dealers, engravers, authors, accessories makers and kennel operators.

“If you have Grandpa’s gun in the closet and you want to bring it and see if it’s safe to shoot, there will be plenty of people who can check it out and even tell you what the value is,” Kempffer said. “And this event is family friendly. We stress that.”

Competition for any gauge is Friday and Saturday, with awards given Saturday night. The main event, the Ripon Cup, takes place Sunday, as do black powder, hammer gun and Compak Sporting competitions.

Learn more at www.deepriver.net.

Ultimate fishing town search: Cape Hatteras, Beaufort, Wilmington, Southport, Asheville, Lincolnton and Charlotte are among the nearly 700 nominees for the World Fishing Network’s annual Ultimate Fishing Town contest.

One U.S. and one Canadian town will each win $25,000 for fishing-related causes and will be featured on WFN, according to a network news release. Olcott Beach, N.Y., was last year’s U.S. winner, with Waddington, N.Y., second and Cape Hatteras third. Hastings, Ontario, was Canada’s winner.

Voting is underway. Regional finalists will be revealed on May 3, and public voting will run through May 24 at www.worldfishingnetwork/uft.

Fly fishing festival: Registration is open for the Southeastern Fly Fishing Festival being held May 17-18 at The Ramsey Center at Western Carolina University. More than 40 exhibitors and more than 40 tiers are expected. Admission is $5 daily. Register at www.southeastfff.org/festival-2013.

Youth championships Saturday: The 35th annual Youth Hunter Education Skills Tournament takes place Saturday at the Millstone 4-H Center near Ellerbe in Richmond County. Hosted by the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, the competition is for teams and individuals 18 and younger in rifle, shotgun and archery marksmanship and orienteering. A written wildlife knowledge test also awaits the 54 teams, which advanced from nine regional competitions. Learn more at www.ncwildlife.org, or call 919-707-0031.

Send your outdoors news and announcements to outdoors@newsobserver.com.

Boggess: boggess.teri@gmail.com

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