The annual Fall Gun Show sponsored by the Minot Rifle and Pistol Club was held last weekend at the State Fair Center. The local organization supplies the staff necessary to conduct the show. Bruce Wolla supplies the direction. Wolla started the fall event 34 year ago.
"We started out in the Armory, then the Auditorium and now we've moved out here to the State Fair Center," said Wolla during Day 1 of the show. "It seems like it keeps getting bigger and better every year."
The armory referred to by Wolla is a small facility located on the east side of the Minot Municipal Auditorium. It didn't take long for demand by exhibitors for more space to convince Wolla to move the show to a larger venue.
Bruce Wolla, Minot, left, greets a visitor to the recent Minot Rifle and Pistol Club Fall Gun Show held at the State Fair Center. Wolla is the director of the event. This year marked the 34th annual year for the show.
Collector displays once dominated the Fall Gun Show. They still play a prominent role, but increasingly larger shows also increased the number of vendor tables. A variety of firearms, firearms parts and accessories, ammunition, reloading components and just about anything else for firearms can usually be found at the show.
"The big thing right now is military guns because of fathers that were in the military," explained Wolla. "Now their sons are collecting the guns their dads carried in World War II and Korea."
Today's modern sporting rifles have also surged in popularity, in part because of a younger generation of veterans that have carried similar rifles while serving in uniform.
"They like the AR-15s and they want to deck it out the way they like it," said Wolla. "That's been a point of interest, military-type guns. Another is Winchesters. Winchesters have gone through the roof. They are just an excellent investment right now."
The Minot show was well attended. It didn't come as a surprise to Wolla. He calls North Dakota and the Minot area "very, very supportive" of gun shows. Another positive, says Wolla, is the influx of newcomers at gun shows.
"A lot of new guys are getting into it. There's guys in their 30s now who are collecting and setting up displays," remarked Wolla. "I always encourage them because that's the future of hunting and gun shows."
A number of excellent buys were available at the Minot show, not unexpected with 30 to 40 vendors competing for business at one location. Ammunition was selling well, along with semi-automatic handguns in the popular 45 and 40 caliber and 9 mm. Background checks were required for all firearms sales by licensed dealers.
Some of the gun show vendors are regulars at the Minot shows and elsewhere. Collectively, they have formed friendships that have lasted for many years.
"That's right," said Wolla. "The older guys show up and have a fun time getting together. It's a camaraderie thing. We appreciate all the support of the people attending. They support us very, very well."