Annual FD firearms show a consistant favorite

This year’s Rifle and Pistol Club of Fort Dodge Gun Show, at the Webster County Fairgrounds, might very well be sponsored by the letter F.

“Fans find fun, friendship and firearms.”

For Ron Rasmussen, owner of Ron’s Gun Repair Inc., that list would also include family. His son, Randy Rasmussen, works with him at the craft and his son, Seth Andersen, 13, isn’t too far behind.

All three were at the gun show Saturday.

Rasmussen said this is his 38th year; he was originally given the suggestion by a fellow gunsmith that attending the show might be good for business.

“I took his advice,” Rasmussen said.

As it turns out, going to the show is good for business.

“It’s scary,” he said. “I’ve already got five guns to work on.”

Numbers six and seven weren’t far behind. A show attendee brought him a shotgun with rust damage, as well as a rifle. He expects to easily meet his yearly average of between 10 and 15 new projects as a result.

For Rasmussen, attending the show is about much more than taking in work or selling items off his tables. It’s about meeting people and enjoying the company of his son and grandson.

On the occasion when he gets to sit down for a little while, he enjoys watching visitors browse the nearby aisles.

Tony Cardenas, of Des Moines, and Randy Fisher, of Fort Dodge, have had adjoining tables at the show for about eight years. The two friends, who, among other things, share a love of Cowboy Action Shooting – a shooting discipline that involves using Old West-period guns and dressing up in period clothing – enjoy their time together.

“We give him a bad time,” Cardenas said.

They both enjoy not only talking with each other, but customers who wander by to browse, shop or just chat about something on the table that triggers an old memory.

“I had one guy come by,” Cardenas said. The man pointed to a gun on his table and said: “I remember buying that in 1959 when Ruger first introduced the Mark One – back then it was $29.95.”

Since then, a bit more has changed than the price. In 1959, the gun could be ordered through the mail and, in fact, Ruger first marketed it that way with an advertisement in American Rifleman Magazine.

Dr. Roger Howland, president of the Rifle and Pistol Club of Fort Dodge, said he enjoys seeing people come into the show that he hasn’t seen for a few years.

He still enjoys shopping and selling a few things.

“You always look,” he said. “If you like something, you buy it.”

The show that visitors see when they arrive – set up and ready to go – takes a lot of preparation.

The work begins months before the doors open with lining up advertising, printing raffle tickets and fliers, and contacting vendors so they can reserve tables.

The day before the show, club members set up tables, help vendors with their wares and then, during the show, man the door, check firearms and sell raffle tickets.

When it’s all over on Sunday night, they clean up.

“It’s a big job,” he said.

Howland appreciates the support the club gets from the community, he said.

He also likes that this gun show has remained a favorite among the vendors.

“A lot of them think of it as one of the best shows in the state,” he said.

Amanda Sharlet, of Fort Dodge, came to the show looking for something that’s been a bit scarce – ammunition – particularly the .22 Long Rifle that goes in her new pistol, a Ruger SR22.

“I just bought my first one a week ago today,” she said.

At Saturday’s show, she got what she sought.

“The purse is pretty heavy now,” she said.

The show continues today from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults. There is no admission charge for children under 14. Food and beverages are available on-site. Raffle tickets for an AR-15 modern sporting rifle are available at the door.