Talon News - Good Local News

By Jacque Ritchie



Aztec Lions annual gun and knife show was well attended thanks to advance planning and widespread promotion and advertising.

Independently launched in 2003 by a former Lions Club member, the Aztec Lions Club has formally hosted the annual Aztec Lion's Club Gun and Knife Show (GKS) since 2008. The 2018 GKS was held June 9-10 at the Aztec Civic Center.

In a recent TALON interview Lions Club GKS organizer Al Hadley said, "It was a real good show. I had no complaints, there were no problems. Everybody had a real good time," Hadley added, "In fact, one fella came up to me and started pattin' me on the back, smilin' sayin' he had 'a real good day.'" According to Hadley all the vendors he spoke with, seemed satisfied with the event, "Everybody seemed to do a good amount of business."

The 2018 show offered 55 tables for the public to browse through. The vendor fee was $45 for an 8' table for the two-day event. The 2018 event included 26 firearm and knife vendors. Another 29 tables offered various wares and services including individuals and small businesses selling jerky, jewelry and Native American rugs. GKS also included local service providers providing informational materials about various community organizations. The Lions club donated two tables, one to SJC Sherrif's Posse and one to, Gateway West Civitan (Bloomfield). GKS charges $5 admission to attend the event. Hadley reported Saturday saw 367 visitors with 89 Sunday visitors. Over the years Hadley has come to expect lower Sunday attendance. Hadley laughed, "Mostly, Sundays are repeat offenders," explaining, "Folks tend to come on out on Saturday shop around and then go home and decide that they really want this item or that and then come on back." As far as the firearm vendors, "They were mostly individuals...we did have one dealer sign-up (out of Kirtland) but he got broke into and robbed the week before the show so he had to cancel." According to Hadley, "Evidently there was more property damage than actual loss of inventory involved there...so I guess it could've been worse."

Hadley said over-all attendance was down by about 100 visitors from last year, noting that in recent years he has seen an uptick in the number of women at the event,"We do have a lot of ladies shopping for hand guns...When we started, we'd hardly ever see a lady." When asked if he thought increased concern about personal protection contributed to higher female attendance Hadley declined to speculate, "I wouldn't know about that, the ladies were just having fun being there and of course shoppin'...one lady made me laugh she came in and asked, "'Do you have any jewelry?' and I said, 'yes ma'am if you'll just go about three tables down this way...'"

According to Hadley after approximately $1,800 in expenses, including renting the civic center, security costs, advertising and the like, the club raised $2,800 profit this year. $150 has already gone to a new coffee maker for the senior center. Hadley said some of the money may go to, "Sprucing up the Lions Hall, it's been at least 10 years since it's been painted." Through this annual fundraiser the Lions Club traditionally provides prescription glasses to needy kids, "We generally get referrals from Aztec School District counselors. We will use the local optometrist for that. We try to keep everything local if possible." The Lions Club also donates to the Aztec Museum, the Aztec Fire Department, AHS Marching Band and the Project Graduation program.


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