As fundraising events go, this is no bake sale.
The 35th Dixie Deer Classic outdoors exposition will draw more than 20,000 people to the State Fairgrounds in Raleigh this weekend to buy hunting and fishing gear from some of the 312 exhibitors and learn from dozens of speakers.
The event is the nonprofit Wake County Wildlife Club’s only fundraiser, said club spokesman Jim Hudson.
“All of the funds are reinvested into wildlife and natural resources conservation and education efforts,” Hudson said.
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The club provides numerous programs and works in conjunction with related nonprofits and agencies such as the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission.
Admission includes the scoring of one set of deer antlers, and more than 600 deer are expected to be scored in more than 20 adult and youth categories. Many of the 296 volunteers come from among the 30 nonprofit organizations that also will have booths at the Feb. 27-March 1 show.
Keeping count at the Dixie Deer Classic
20,000+ Average paid attendance in recent years, not counting several thousand kids 12 and younger, volunteers, exhibitors and people who attend more than one day because admission is good for all three days.
0 calls needed by Louisiana bowhunter Joshua Carney, “Son of the South: The Original Natural Caller,” to call in a variety of animal species. The Trinity Outdoors Disabled Adventures spokesman, who uses a wheelchair as the result of a turkey hunting accident, will speak on hunter safety (Seminar Room 2, 5 p.m. Friday; Seminar Room 1, 4 p.m. Saturday; Dorton Arena classroom, 11 a.m. Sunday).
6 great youth activities: N.C. Bowhunters Association Kids Shoot, face painting, BB gun turkey shoot, presentation on N.C. snakes, Wildlife Scavenger Hunt conducted by N.C. State University’s Leopold Wildlife Club, turkey call making with National Wild Turkey Federation experts.
50,000+ dollar value of door prizes.
1 Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune-born TV celebrity – 2003 East Carolina graduate Mike Stroff of Savage Outdoors (Dorton Arena, 7 p.m. Friday, 3 Saturday, 2:30 Sunday).
5,091 hours from 229 volunteers at the 2014 show, which does not include thousands of hours of show planning and maintenance of www.dixiedeerclassic.org.
4 opportunities to learn blood tracking – training a dog to find wounded game – with Kirk Vaughan and David Whitmire of the N.C. Bowhunters Association (retriever demo area, 6 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday, 12:30 Sunday; Dorton Arena classroom, 1 p.m. Saturday).
8 stars of “Dressed to Kill,” the reality TV series that follows the lives of young women with a passion for bow hunting (Dorton Arena, 4 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday, 11:30 a.m. Sunday).
1 antler dog named Ayla, who will demonstrate her skills at finding shed antlers (Celebrity Stage, Dorton Arena, 2:30 Friday, 10:30 Saturday, 10 Sunday).
4 Becoming an Outdoors Woman seminars with NCWRC wildlife education specialist Casey Williams and Muzzy Products CEO Michele Musacchia Eichler (Seminar Room 1, 4 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday; Seminar Room 2, 10 a.m. Sunday).
5 major contests: deer trophies, N.C. State Championship turkey calling, call making, and N.C. Bowhunters 3-D Challenge and photo, trail cam photo and video contest.
80 new vendors, including 2 major retailers – Bass Pro Shops and Field & Stream.
7 vendors of tackle, kayaks, charters and boats – because after deer season comes fishing season.
15 Outdoor Lore speakers.
18 states from Alaska to Texas to Maine represented by 48 U.S. outfitters, and 13 other outfitters that book trips to Canada, Mexico and Africa.
Sources: Wake County Wildlife Club, N.C. Bowhunters Association, exhibitor websites