From wall to wall, McIntyre Arena was an outdoorsperson’s paradise this weekend.
JORDAN HORROBIN/THE DAILY PRESS
The 72nd-annual Schumacher Lions Club Sportsman Show, held this past weekend, didn’t set any records for attendance or proceeds.
But that’s not the really the aim of the two-day event, which has been hosted at McIntyre Community Centre for nearly three quarters of a century. Instead, it’s a showcase of the consistent passion and investment this community has in the great outdoors.
“To live up in the North, you have to be somewhat of an outdoorsperson, or you have to like nature and stuff because what else is there to do up here, right?” said John McCauley, treasurer of the Schumacher Lions Club and co-chairman of the sportsman show. “Not to minimize it either because if you’re an avid outdoorsperson, this is like God’s country.”
McCauley estimated that 7,500 attendees came to the show this year, which led to net proceeds of roughly $35,000 for the Schumacher Lions Club. The money earned at the sportsman show, the club’s biggest fundraiser of the year, is returned to the community in various ways (helping people acquire dentures and prosthetics, donations to the Timmins and District Hospital Foundation, maintenance at local parks, etc.).
There hasn’t been much fluctuation in the size of the event from year to year, McCauley said. But there’s a good reason for that.
“The show itself hasn’t really grown or shrunk over the years, just simply because we’re using up every part of the real estate of the building,” said McCauley, who has worked on the show for 13 years.
From wall to wall, McIntyre Arena was an outdoorsperson’s paradise this weekend. Boats, jet skis, four-wheelers and dirt bikes were available for sale in the main bowl. Upstairs, the Timmins Bowhunters and Archers held an archery demonstration for more than 500 newcomers to the sport, while the Birds of Prey show packed a crowd for its 15th-straight year. Elsewhere, there were carnival games like ring toss and arcade basketball, with cotton candy and popcorn for sale.
In other words, the show had something for everybody. And that will never change.
What McCauley does try to tweak from time to time is the celebrity guest. Some names from the past include comedian Rick Mercer, wrestler Bret Hart and three-time Olympic hockey gold medalist Meghan Agosta.
For three years, Amanda Lynn Mayhew has been in the celebrity spotlight. She hosts a show called “Just Hunt” on Wild Pursuit Network, which is currently airing its third season.
Mayhew is sort of a local celebrity, having attended elementary school in Matheson and high school in Iroquois Falls. At the sportsman show, she spent most of her time signing autographs and discussing hunting experiences with fans, some of whom recognized her from years ago and others who know her now from TV.
One fan, who was in a wheelchair, asked Mayhew if she’d ever taken a disabled person out fishing. She hadn’t. So the fan asked how that might be done.
“And I said, ‘I don’t know,’” Mayhew said. “‘We’ll figure it out.’”
She plans to seek out the mayor’s office to see how such an event could be arranged, then come back to Timmins to shoot it as part of Just Hunt’s next season.
Mayhew has been to many sportsman shows, most of which exist on a larger scale than the one at McIntyre Community Centre. Still, she was impressed by the number of people she saw in Timmins, as well as their passion, and hopes to be back again next year.
“It’s the Toronto Sportsmen’s Show on a smaller level,” Mayhew said. “People are more personal, it’s a more intimate setting and it’s grounded. And it’s where I’m from. So, right from the very first year, I was like, ‘Hell yes I’m coming there.’”