The adventure started as soon as Paul from Pro Duck and Goose Hunting Supplies Pro Duck Mossy Oak Pro Staff) turned up at my place, with a van loaded to the gunnels with gear and the stand yet to be built. In true American style they left nothing chance, and had brought what I call an entire village with them. You see they are now one of Pass It On young Sports major sponsors so with their big show stand next to ours, this really was going to be a show to remember.
I climbed aboard the van and was probably packed in with all the duck decoys on the front seat and thus a very loaded up van carrying, The Ole hedge Creeper made its way to the West Country Game Fair on the Friday afternoon. There waiting for us at the front gate was my ole mucker and top shooting coach Robert Eaton, who was also going to be giving free shooting lessons on the Pass It On young Sports Stand this very weekend.
Through the gates and to our hall, this was when the sheer vastness of the stand really dawned upon us. By golly this was not a stand we were about to build is was an entire wild-fowling village, with shadow grass wall and burlap coverings let alone all the banners and stock. I joked Pass it On will take that small corner over there as the magnitude of what lay before us became a realization.
Well nothing for it get out the wooden frame and build the collosal structure that would actually be a giant duck blind. Quickly we unloaded and started to erect this giant duck blind, in actual fact it took over seven hours to build. I must say it was magnificent and the pictures just don’t do it justice, as nor do my simple words, but anyone who saw our stand commented it was by far the best stand, that was sweet on the eye for the entire show.
Well we headed home to head out for some drinks with my family, and to await my Ole Cornish Mucker and top countryman (Greg) to turn up from, The Countryman’s Diary and Gun Ice, who was also set to be on the stand all weekend with us entertaining the crowds and promoting the Gun Ice initiative.
The first day of the show we woke up, bright and early. We piled into the van and headed to the show, with a boyish excitement for what lay ahead of us. We put up the final banners and finishing touches before the gates of the show opened to the public.
Bang on 8.30 am.
As this was my local show, I suppose The Ole Hedge Creeper had to take the lead and get the ball rolling, so with my books taking fore front of the Pass it On Young Sports stand (all the money goes direct to pass it on.) I started calling on my Zinc Duck and Goose calls I had got from Paul.
The punters came like Green heads, slipping air paddles down right into my decoys, as both young and old heard the sound of wildfowl and filled their hearts and thier imagination. Rob was flat out inspiring the hordes of folk wanting a free shooting lesson from a master of his craft. Greg was over run with field-sports folk wanting to buy the Gun-Ice cards and hear about The Countrymans diary magazine.
Matt Manning pops by to say hello.
Paul, now with his business partner Nigel, were literally swamped with wildfowlers and countrymen and woman both young and old wanting the highest of quality gear from Pro Duck and Goose Hunting Supplies, who only stock the best names in the business. With such top brands as Calef Calls (Barnie Calef) Avery/pattern-master/Zinc ahhh man the list is endless and every man woman child and dog were like kids in a candy store at Christmas.
I was there calling my heart out and playing sweet sweet wildfowl music, and giving lessons on how to call fowl and turn those birds right into you. Infact it got to a point, were the boys had almost sold out of calls on the first day simply because I played that sweet wildfowl music on my calls.
The end of the first day and well all I can say is WOW, what a show and my beloved West Country folk had not let me down, and not only welcomed us but over whelmed us with their banter, chat and inspirational talk of past days hunting and well almost clearing the stand of all the stock from the pro duck and goose boys to Gun Ice/Countryman’s Diary and well my books just literally flew out. Rob looked totally knackered after giving so many inspirational lessons that day.
Sunday was day 2, we also had my daughter. Emilie came along with us, and those of you that have read about that girl of mine will know she is a much better caller of wildfowl than me. She talked me into a new pair of hunting boots and a leather cowboy hat the same as mine. I still to this day don’t know how she turns me saying no in to yes of course you can empty my wallet and buy her what she wants, Ahhhhhh hell she is my baby and wont be this age for long they grow up so fast so if I have the money she can have what ever she wants and she knows it too as she is a proper daddies girl and I love it best job in the world being a Daddy.
Well we re-stocked the stand and got it all ready for the punters to arrive, so I took Emilie off for a walk about for an hour to see the rest of the show. I bumped into my ole mucker Hywel Morgan on his fishing stand so had a bit of a yarn and banter with this inspirational Welshman, I bid farewell as we had to get round the rest of the show also bumping into another ole mucker from Countryman’s weekly Tracey Allen on her stand. The call came saying come back to the stand as punters were asking for me to give them a lesson in wildfowl calling so Emilie and I headed back.
Almost to the stand I bumped into my ole mucker Paul Pontain, and his simply brilliant and even if I say so myself one of the best ferret display shows in the land that can only be Avon Valley Ferrets. After our usual hilarious banter a chat with his good lady and his boys and a cuddle with the ferrets and meeting his Harris Hawks we rushed back to our stand and bid farewell to my ole mucker Paul.
Bloody nora the stand was literally heaving with people some there to meet the boys from Mossy oak pro staff and buy equipment etc, some having a shooting lesson and some buying Gun Ice cards but by far the massive amount of folk all waiting to get a lesson on wildfowl calling and to buy my books and to hear all about Pass It On Young Sports and what we do was literally awww inspiring and humbling to say the least.
So I got my Emilie to start off with the Zink duck calls the PH1 and the PH2 one was single read one was double read. And if I say so myself that sweet duck music echoed around the hall as if we were out on the marsh. I joined in and got onto the canada goose call the Zinc PC1 power clucker one and played that sweet goose music.
Between Emilie on the duck calls and me on the goose calls that heart thumping wildfowl music literally pulled more folk from the other halls right to our stand. As the crowd grew they wanted us to play more from come back calls to clucking to feed chatter to hail calls and well we went straight into our high balling show calling just like we did in America.
Emilie and I had a duck off, as we literally went head to head calling in a sort of mini competition and well all I will say that girl has more breath in her lungs than her Ole Daddy. She literally handed me my backside and showed me she had learn’t all I had taught out on those lonely marshes and well I could not have been anymore proud than I was at that moment in time. The crowd cheered and well all I will say is that the boys on The Pro Duck and Goose stand literally sold out of those awsom Zink duck and goose calls in the blink of an eye with orders being placed for them to be posted out too.
The show ended the punters went home, and we took down the stand took a breath and we all agreed WOW, what a simply awsome show. I must send a massive thank you from The Ole Hedge Creeper to Emilie for her totally inspiring calling, to Robert Eaton for all the free shooting lessons he gave, mucker you are a true master of your craft, To Paul and Nigel for their continued support and outstanding quality products and to Greg from The Countryman’s Diary and Gun Ice always a pleasure to work with you brother.
Last but not least Lisa Scattergood from Contour Exhibitions not only for all your support but also putting on one of the best shows in the land that happens to be in my beloved West Country.
Well that’s The Ole Hedge Creepers report from a brilliant show and Pass It On Young Sports, Here: raised the bar even higher yet again, Proving our motto TOGETHER WE CAN INSPIRE really does work, Well until the next show or Pass it On Young sports taster day, All I will say is proper job muckers and that was the simply awsom and inspiring West Country Game Fair 2014.
West Country Game Fair 2014
By The Ole Hedge Creeper
Aka: Rob Collins