The Big Horn Outdoor Adventure Show is full of new things, old friends, tips and rumors to flush out this weekend.
Among the many sportsmen milling around the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center is a fresh face, Spencer Kimbro, who defies stereotypes one might have about hunters.
Successful? Yes. Macho? Not exactly.
Kimbro, 11, who suffers from spina bifida and gets around in a wheelchair, bagged his first buck last fall through the goodwill of the Youth Outdoors Unlimited (YOU).
The nonprofit group based in Moses Lake was founded two years ago to offer fishing or hunting adventures to youths with physical disabilities or life-threatening illnesses.
Being selected for a hunting trip wasn’t a guarantee. YOU arranged for hunting mentors to build blinds and provide the weapons and shooting instruction.
But Kimbro had to pass a hunter education course in order to get a deer tag. And he had to be game for the hunt.
He invested several long days at one location with no luck before his mentors got permission to put up a blind at Maple K Farms near Colfax.
Rifle hunting was not open, said Spencer’s mother, Robin, so the boy had to take up a new weapon: a crossbow.
“He got his deer with one shot,” beamed his mother.
“It tasted good,” Spencer confirmed before taking off an all-terrain motorized wheelchair a company was demonstrating at the Big Horn Show.
His mom stayed around at the YOU booth, working the crowd to help spread word that the group is looking for more youths with disabilities and a yen to hunt.
YOU also is looking for more sponsors to make the hunts happen.
“We have five kids signed up this year,” she said. “It was an unbelievable experience for Spencer. We’d like to see it happen to more kids.”
Other youths also were getting their first shots at the Big Horn Show Saturday.
Evergreen Archery clubbers were teaching kids to shoot arrows from bows.
Down the hall, Inland Northwest Wildlife Council volunteers wearing hunter orange vests were giving one-on-one time to youngsters at the air-rifle range. As a bonus, the kids were being offered trigger locks to give to their parents as they left the range.
“Maybe we can prevent an accidental shooting in somebody’s home,” one instructor said.
Down another hall, a mother stood giggling as her daughter came from the Fishing World pond with a 20-inch trout.
“I brought a purse, not a cooler,” the mom said as a helper handed her a plastic bag.
More digital features are revealed at the show each year, including GPS mapping software that includes names of landowners.
A Facebook-like social networking site – www.MyTrophyRoom.me – has been launched by Jeff Cummings of Loon Lake to help sportsmen share news about their outings and their fishing and hunting trophies.
“I don’t get on Facebook that much, but when I shot an elk last fall, I could see the possibilities,” Cummings said.
“I texted a photo with my phone to my wife, even before I dressed out the elk. Then I thought of friends I should send the photo to along with details of the hunt.”
Cummings said he wanted to create a site that had Facebook networking power but tailored to sportsmen.
He has a good start, with more features still to come.