Monday, March 2, 2020

A Swap Meet Like No Other

       If you are reading this column, you may not know who I am but I have been an outdoor writer for a long, long time and there are many newspapers using this weekly column of mine, often as many as 40 or 50. I write outdoor books and I publish a magazine known as the Lightnin’ Ridge Outdoor Journal. In early days I wrote hundreds of articles for outdoor magazines, including Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, Sports Afield and many others.

       My first article for Outdoor Life, entitled “Old Paint… the Story of a Wooden Johnboat” was published in 1972… and I wrote it when I was 19. It won an award as the best national outdoor magazine article of that year, and was published in the book, “Best Sport Stories of 1972”! I have a B.S. degree from the University of Missouri in wildlife management and after college I was the outdoor editor for Arkansas’ largest newspaper for many years.  But I seldom met the people who read what I wrote.

        Years ago I wanted to do something which would especially allow me to meet with some of the people who read this column, so we started a once-a-year, free swap meet at a church gymnasium in Brighton, Mo.  It got bigger and bigger, to a point where we couldn’t hardly fit everyone in the gym, so this year we have doubled the size of the space available, and will have it at a place known as the Complex in Bolivar, Mo.  
       The Complex is big… two basketball courts placed end to end where I imagine we could accommodate 75 to 80 vendors and perhaps 2000 people.  So if you have outdoor gear of any kind or anything else to sell, you need to contact me so I can set up a place for you. If you don’t sell it at our swap meet, you may never sell it.

       It will be held on March 21, the third Saturday in March.  The Complex is on a road long known as Mt. Gilead road, the one that goes to the Golf Course. That road is also known as East 455 and it begins almost directly across from the local Wal-Mart store at the south end of Bolivar.  I want to have folks come from all over the Midwest to spend most of the day with us.  As I said, our swap meet is free… free to anyone who wants to come and find some great buys, and free to someone who wants to pick out a space to set up and sell about anything.  In this day and time, not many things are free.  Of course it would be impossible to list all the things you will find there for sale.  Antiques are always plentiful, I saw a 90-year old lure sell for 3 dollars once that was likely worth 20 times that much. There will also be lots of hunting guns, many of them antiques as well. The one thing we always have enormous numbers of is fishing lures, rods and reels, tackle boxes, etc. There will be several tables with items for ladies, like jewelry, glassware, etc. Even a 110-piece set of china will be on sale! 

       One booth will have wildlife art, another will have wooden gifts of all kinds, and taxidermists will have mounts for sale, big bass, deer heads, etc.  This year we will also have a 19-foot Grumman square stern canoe, which I will let go to the highest bidder.

       A friend of mine from Colorado will bring some deer antler and elk antler chandeliers that are beautiful.  You can also get one of my turkey calls made from western cedar that I make myself and at the last few swap meets I sold for ten dollars apiece. This year I will give those little calls away free, to whomever wants one, as long as they last. Several big, old gobblers have told me they are the best calls ever made. 

       I will also have all ten of my books there, including the new one, and will be giving away some back issues of my magazines that you might enjoy reading. 

       I have flyers printed up and would like to have help getting them spread around… need some volunteers who might help with that. I can send them to you in the mail. Our swap meet will start in the morning at eight and continue until one o’clock and there is a big separate concession area almost like a café with tables for coffee and breakfast early and then dinner at noon---sandwiches and pizza by 11 a.m.     
       Remember this is an INDOOR swap meet and it is free for vendors and visitors alike. Bring some friends and join us.  And if you only have a few things to sell; bring them… perhaps an old shotgun that needs a stock repaired, or an old tackle box with lures that you’ll not use anymore, or an old tent or Coleman stove, or maybe a boat or canoe…. Whatever!  We will set it up for you next to my table and help you sell it.  Contact my office to get a map or reserve space, phone 417 777 5227, or email me at  Sure hope I get to meet many of you then.

No comments: