Snakes, ’gators and laser tag, oh my! The 2022 Wildlife and Outdoor Expo arrives Thursday

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, August 16, 2022

What do snakes, pigs, alligators, grilled chicken and laser tag have in common? They are all parts of the 2022 Lincoln County Wildlife and Outdoor Expo.

The expo is this weekend at the Lincoln Civic Center.

“We’ve been doing the Expo since 2008, and the whole goal of the show is to fundraise for both the Lincoln Civic Center and its facilities, as well as — with priority to — the Hunt of a Lifetime we do each year,” said LCC General Manager Quinn Jordan.

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Events start with a bang Thursday night with the Gun Bash at 6 p.m. The Gun Bash is sponsored jointly by the Center and the Southwest Mississippi Branch of the National Deer Hunters Association. The banquet has five levels of sponsorship, from $100 to $1,000, each with draw down tickets for gun raffles and other benefits. Children age 15 and younger get into the Gun Bash free. Tickets are still available.

There will be a silent auction, a live auction, food and fellowship, and 22 gun giveaways. Proceeds support NDA nationally and in Southwest Mississippi, and 40 percent goes directly to the Hunt of a Lifetime.

Last year’s Hunt recipient was Nathan Williamson, who was able to harvest a red stag during his dream hunt in Texas.

The Hunt of a Lifetime was just that for 2020 recipient Warren Ashmore, of Brookhaven. In spring 2021, Ashmore stood before the Lincoln County Board of Supervisors to thank them for their support of the Lincoln Civic Center, which in turn led to his opportunity to participate in the hunt.

“Fourteen years ago, I had an ATV accident that caused me to have a traumatic brain injury and degenerative spine conditions,” Ashmore said then. “Hunting, fishing, golf all came to a halt for me.”

Ashmore was able to take his dream trip to hunt elk in Missouri, where he harvested an 800-pound elk on the second day of the trip, on his first shot.

In addition to the trophy mount, elk chili, chops, steaks and jerky Ashmore said he enjoyed, the then-29-year-old said the trip enabled him “to forget about all my appointments, my tests, my procedures, (and) leave the worries of the world behind and feel a sense of normalcy. I have a renewed sense of hope.”

The main Expo starts Friday, 5-9 p.m., and continues Saturday from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Admission fees are $8 for adults, ages 13 and up; $5 for children ages 7 to 12; and free for children age 6 and younger.

Events include performance dog shows, pig catching, baby alligators, the “largest ever” Jump Zone for children, demonstrations from the Museum of Natural Science, “The Snake Lady” Andi Lehman, a large laser tag area, Aim Program bow shoot, Volunteer Fire Department hand-grabbing tanks and a logging equipment showcase. Saturday will also feature a Chicken & Ribs Cookoff, with cash prizes.

Booths featuring outdoor products, hunting, fishing, trucks, boats, ATVs, etc. will also be there. Jordan said the expected attendance this year is more than 3,000 people.

“We’ve got the best selection of hunting booths and general outdoor activities that we’ve ever had,” Jordan said. “We’ve also got the largest kids’ activities area we’ve ever been able to put on, including unlimited laser tag for an extra $5.”

All kids activities are free Friday, except the laser tag.

For more information, call Jordan at 601-823-9064 or Bruce Gray of NDA at 601-754-5592.