Wells gun show returns for 53rd year

Published 10:48 am Thursday, March 7, 2013

WELLS — This city of 2,336 people will more than double in size this weekend as 3,000 or 4,000 people come to the 53rd annual Wells Gun Traders Show at United South Central High School.

One of the event’s organizers, John Vee, said this is the largest and longest-running gun show in southern Minnesota and said it is a gun show that often wives like to come to.

That’s because it has more than just guns. Vee said vendors sell prints, coins, antiques, collectibles and even handmade goods, in addition to selling firearms, ammunition and gun parts and supplies.

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The firearms are primarily sport-related, Vee said, and many vendors sell hunting-related items, such as camouflage clothing, knives, archery goods or fishing lures. Some tables at the show are occupied by organizations such as Pheasants Forever, Ducks Unlimited and lake associations.

Admittance to the show is $5. The show, run by the Wells Rifle & Pistol Club, is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. Lunch is available at the show, too.

The club uses proceeds from the show to offset costs of maintaining and improving its shooting range, which is about a mile west of Wells on Minnesota Highway 109. The funds also go for running a summer league and for hosting gun safety classes. The club installed a skeet range last summer. Often leftover funds, Vee said, go toward community causes, such as a new veterans memorial in Wells or the effort in recent years to restore the depot. Funds also go toward support gun advocacy at the state Capitol and for wildlife organizations.

The United South Central School District is getting set to build a new school. Classes are slated to begin in the new building by September 2014. That shouldn’t disrupt future gun shows, said Norbert Sonnek. If anything, it will create more space, he said.

He said the show keeps getting bigger. The Wells Gun Traders Show added 30 more tables this year, and they sold quickly.

There will be a about 360 tables Saturday and Sunday at the show, Sonnek said.

About Tim Engstrom

Tim Engstrom is the editor of the Albert Lea Tribune. He resides in Albert Lea with his wife, two sons and dog.

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