Gun fans converge on Craig

Hunting season may be a few months off, but that didn't stop the region's gun enthusiasts from attending this weekend's gun show in Craig.

Bears Ear Sportsman Club of Craig sponsored the show, which brought vendors from all over Northwest Colorado and as far as South Dakota.

Bears Ear sponsors two gun shows a year in Craig, one each in the fall and spring.

"We've got a lot more vendors than we've ever had," organizer Dick Becker said shortly after the show opened Saturday morning.

The fall show had about 50 tables, Becker said, but this weekend's show had 63.

"We could have sold more," he said.

The fall shows always draw more customers, Becker said.

Vendors sold everything including antler-handled spatulas and Old West collectibles, but most customers were in the market for guns and accessories.

"It's not much of a collector show," Bill Mackin said.

Mackin is the founder of the Cowboy and Gunfighter Collection in the Museum of Northwest Colorado. He sold "antique guns and cowboy junk" at this weekend's show.

Mary Cannady of Glenrock Components in Glenrock, Wyo., said most customers Saturday were just browsing.

"They'll walk around the whole show, sometimes twice, before they buy anything," she said.

Charles Spann of Craig was one of those "just browsing" customers.

"They've got a lot of nice guns here," Spann said. "I'm impressed."

Vendors have to run a Colorado Bureau of Investi-gation background check on customers before they sell a gun.

"Depending on CBI's computers, (background checks) can take from five minutes to an hour," said Daniel Heppler, a partner in the Firethorn Trading Post in Eckert.

If something comes up at CBI, Heppler said, the background check could take three days.

Saturday's show drew 120 customers in the first 90 minutes. Bears Ear member Willard White, who was manning the door Saturday, said the turnout was good. "We're doing pretty good this early."

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