Gun and knife show brings thousands to Show Me Center despite weather

Sunday, March 14, 2010
Cape Girardeau resident Todd Alexander, right, helps daughter Payton Alexander, 9, look at a Rossi Youth Model Shotgun/Rifle Combo during the Missouri Gun and Knife Show at the Show Me Center on Saturday, March 13, 2010. Payton started hunting last year and came to the show with her father to look for her first gun. (KRISTIN EBERTS)

While bad weather might keep attendance down at some trade shows, promoters of this weekend's Missouri Gun and Knife Show said Saturday's clouds and drizzle probably helped attendance exceed their initial estimates.

"It's been pretty packed in here all day," said Jody Geiser, who, with J. D. King, is promoting the weekend event at the Show Me Center.

Geiser had projected attendance for the three-day show at between 6,000 and 8,000. He said many people interested in guns and knives are outdoor people, and since the weather was too rainy for outdoor activities, "the weather brings everybody in" to the show.

Pat Helton of Metropolis, Ill., attends as many as 20 gun and knife shows a year, and rates the Missouri Gun and Knife Show up there with the best of them.

"This show right here in Cape Girardeau is as good as any show around in the four-state or five-state area," said Helton, a collector who displayed knives. "J. D. [King] and them put on a good show. It's run real well."

An assortment of swords and knives are displayed at a booth operated by Tom and Ronda Skelton of Mom and Pops Discount Variety Store during the Missouri Gun and Knife Show at the Show Me Center on Saturday, March 13, 2010. (KRISTIN EBERTS)

More than 100 exhibitors had displays at the show, including many who were there mainly to display their prized collections, including Ken Church of Carbondale, Ill. Church collects antique handguns, particularly those made by Colt.

Church showed off a Colt handgun issued by the U.S. government in 1884.

"This is an original-condition Colt Peacemaker that a cavalry soldier would carry," Church said.

While many were attracted to the older firearms and knives at the show, others came to check out new technology, including semiautomatic weapons.

Gwyn Minch of JSE Surplus said, "This is a great show for the size that it is." JSE Surplus has a store between Cape Girardeau and Dutchtown and deals in military-style semiautomatic weapons.

Ethan Weber, 6, holds a balloon as he walks with his father Daniel Weber, center, of Perryville, Mo., during the Missouri Gun and Knife Show at the Show Me Center on Saturday, March 13, 2010. (KRISTIN EBERTS)

Not all in attendance were there to buy or sell weapons. Independent Larry Bill and Republican Bob Parker, both candidates for the Missouri 8th Congressional District seat, were drumming up support.

The Missouri Gun and Knife Show concludes at 4 p.m. today.

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