Tickets to the gun show, or food

Published 9:08 am Thursday, March 8, 2012


WELLS — The 52nd annual Wells Gun Traders Show is set for this weekend at United South Central High School.

According to Wells Rifle & Pistol Club member Norbert Sonnek, the event is expected to bring in anywhere between 3,000 and 3,500 people.

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That’s about 1,000 more people than the entire Wells population.

The show, which has a $5 entry fee, has become a family affair that isn’t all about guns. Some vendors bring collectible items like knives and coins to sell, but the food is the show’s star.

Since the event starts at 8 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday and runs through lunchtime, the show offers both breakfast and lunch.

The show’s widely known beef commercials are what seem to drive people in because other gun shows either don’t offer a meal or else offer something very basic.

“It’s not brats that have been rolled in tinfoil for two days,” Jay Miller, kitchen manager said.

According to three women Sonnek ran into at Hart Brothers Weaponry in Albert Lea, it should be called a pie show because they go just for the selection of more than 200 homemade pies.

Sonnek said the last he counted it took 22 people to man the kitchen and just as fast as the food is up, it’s gone.

“If you come to the kitchen, you’ve got to stand in line to get in,” Miller said. “Or push, fight or holler.”

The gun show originally started because the Wells Rifle & Pistol Club needed a way to raise money. Now, after paying their own dues, any money left over is donated to Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever and to the school’s band trips, athletics, yearbook, fine arts and post prom funds.

It was originally hosted in a community building and started off with eight tables of vendors. It has outgrown the building and has moved to the high school where 360 tables are set up with more than 40 people on a waiting list.

According to John Vee, another member, the square footage that the event takes up at the high school is equal to about three-quarters of a football field.

The show is at its capacity in the high school but has no plans of relocating.

Vee said every year there is a letter or two from someone in a different town offering to host the show, but he and the other members don’t believe there is anywhere larger to set up and they would like to keep it in Wells.

“We’re planning on at least another 48 years,” Vee said. “We might not be here, but hopefully someone will take it over.”

The club members said the show is a good way to educate the community about gun safety and also bring people to Wells.


Gunning for food

• 310 pounds beef
• 10 turkeys
• 40 pounds bacon
• 40 pounds pork sausage
• 50 dozen eggs
• 200 homemade pies
• 75 cases of pop