This weekend I attended and exhibited our guns at the Southern Side by Side championship, organised by Bill Kempffer (above) and held at his Deep River Shooting grounds near Sanford, North Carolina. After an opening day which reminded me of the CLA game fair, with tropical style rainstorms, we enjoyed 2 further days of uninterrupted sunshine and temperatures in the 80’s.
The Event which was started some 8 years ago, is sponsored by, amongst others, English gunmakers Atkin Grant and Lang and Charles Boswell who were founding sponsors and were both represented this year by their owners Francis Lovel and Chris Batha respectively. Also making the trip from England were Heritage Guns, Holland & Holland and myself.
Many of the larger American dealers were present amongst exhibitors and this venue must now certainly have the largest showing and selection of best guns at one time on the East Coast. I have only seen larger gatherings of best guns at the Las Vegas Antique Arms and the Safari Club shows in Dallas and Vegas.
In the past we used to attend the Vintagers show but only for a couple of years. I found this show to be much better, a pleasant and friendly atmosphere amongst the exhibitors and visitors, the warm and sunny weather was a delight and the show comes after a good break since the major shows in January so I think well timed. The organisers I think could improve the catering and the floods of Friday which affected the main tents on lower ground will no doubt have caused concern amongst those exhibitors and their millions of dollars of stock.
For anyone who has considered going to visit the show I think you will enjoy it, there is plenty to look at and of course there is the shooting as well, I didn’t get to try a round as I had to guard my guns!