Now that the 2017 UP Trappers Association Convention has wrapped up, we would like to thank all of the vendors, volunteers, demonstrators, attendees and anyone else associated with the convention. Attendance was just under 2400 which is approximately 400 people less than last year. Roy Dahlgren, event coordinator, contributes the lower numbers to the convention falling on the same weekend as the Fourth of July Holiday weekend. Overall this was a great time. Many Great demonstrations and vendors. Please see the excellent article written by The Daily Press. This article was reproduced with permission from the Daily Press.
Trappers flock to annual convention
ESCANABA — The 55th Annual Upper Peninsula Trappers Convention and Outdoors Expo got off to a strong start Friday, according to people involved with the event. This event will continue today at the U.P. State Fairgrounds.
District 3 President and Convention Coordinator for U.P. Trappers Roy Dahlgren said, as of noon Friday, almost 1,000 paying attendees had come to the expo. “We’re right on where we were last year,” he said. The number of vendors present at this year’s expo is up from 2016. “We have about 25 more tables than what we had last year,” Dahlgren said. Dahlgren said last fall the magazine “American Trapper” called the U.P. Trappers Convention and Outdoors Expo one of the best trapping shows in the Midwest. He noted that this was due in part to the efforts that have been made to make this event appealing to a broad audience — while its original focus was solely on trapping, this is no longer the case.“There’s a lot of stuff for ladies (and) for the kids,” Dahlgren said. One vendor offering something different at this year’s expo is Park Avenue Quilts.
“(It’s) something for the rest of the family,” Fay Runkel of Park Avenue Quilts said. Runkel said she enjoys meeting people from outside the U.P. at the expo. “It’s fun to talk to people from other areas and see how far they’ve come,” she said. Expo attendee Karen Bush said she appreciates the event’s wide variety of vendors and its lineup of trapping demonstrations.“It gives me a little insight into what trappers do and how they do it,” she said. Another attendee, Tim Gerdmann, said that these demonstrations played a major role in his decision to attend the event.“The big reason we came is for the demonstrations (Saturday),” he said. One prominent presenter at this year’s expo is “Predator Quest” host Les Johnson. Johnson gave a demonstration at noon yesterday, and will give another presentation today at 1 p.m. These demonstrations focus on using calls to hunt predators. “It’s mainly just calling in … animals,” Johnson said. According to Johnson, he has been attending the expo for quite some time. “I’m gonna say it’s been about five years altogether,” he said. Johnson, who is also a vendor at this year’s expo, said he enjoys the opportunity the event gives him to connect with former customers and meet members of a younger generation of people interested in the outdoors. “That’s the big thing for me,” he said. Another vendor giving a demonstration at this year’s expo is Jeff Dunlap of Dunlap Lures. “I’ll be doing it on muskrat and mink trapping,” Dunlap said of his demonstration taking place at 2 p.m. Today. As is the case for Johnson, 2017 is far from the first time Dunlap has attended this event. “I’ve been coming for years,” he said. Dunlap said that he expects attendance at the expo to pick up today. “People (get) off of work and stuff,” he said. He also said that he enjoys visiting the U.P., and that he appreciates the support businesses in the area have shown for the expo. “It’s nice when the local businesses are behind this event,” Dunlap said. This year’s U.P. Trappers Convention and Outdoors Expo also includes demonstrations from John Chagnon, Rusty Johnson, Harry Nestell, Lesel Reuwsaat, and Richard Clark. While Johnson and Dunlap have been coming to the expo for years, some vendors — including Barnes Hide and Fur — attended this event for the first time in 2017. Trevor Barnes said that, while he is a newcomer to the expo, he is quite familiar with the area. “I actually … run some fur routes here in the U.P.,” he said. Barnes said he enjoyed attending the expo, and that he plans to return in the future. In 2018, the National Trappers Association Convention will once again be held in Escanaba. “We’ll be back again next year for the national,” Barnes said. The U.P. Trappers Convention and Outdoors Expo will continue from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. today at the U.P. State Fairgrounds. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under.