PARKERSBURG - Hunting and outdoor activities were featured Saturday at the Wildlife Banquet and Expo at Fairlawn Baptist Church.
"It's predominantly an outreach to men in the community," said Jason Spade of Fairlawn Baptist Church.
Spade said the Wildlife Banquet and Expo attracted about 450 people last year and they were expecting the same amount this year. He said an hour into the event they had sold a little more than 400 tickets. With church volunteers they had more than 600 present in and around the church.
Kelly Boyce, of the National Wild Turkey Federation, stands with a turkey he hunted. (Photo by Jeffrey Saulton)
Tracy Breen, left, an outdoor and hunting writer and speaker at the Wildlife Banquet and Expo, speaks with Cecil Gossette of Marietta. (Photo by Jeffrey Saulton)
Tim Dowler, left, who makes turkey calls out of bones, shows Kayleigh Barker, of Walker, how to use a turkey call. (Photo by Jeffrey Saulton)
Various outdoor- and hunting-related businesses set up throughout the church to give those who came a look at what they have to offer.
"We have several vendors from the area," Spade said. "They're not selling anything, but they set up their displays and they get to make a lot of contacts for later."
There was also a wild game sampling area set up and the event was followed by a banquet also featuring wild game. Speaking at Saturday's event was Tracy Breen, a writer for Outdoor Life magazine. Breen, who has cerebral palsy, is a Christian hunter who gave a gospel presentation built around the outdoors.
Breen said he is a hunting writer for a number of print and online publications. He said the list of publications include Bow Hunting World, Peterson Bow Hunting, Bow Hunting America, Inside Archery, Archery Business, Buckmasters, North American White Tail, Turkey Country, Matthew's Inc.com, hunting.net, bowhunting.com and TracyBreen.com.
Breen said his condition is what makes his story and testimony unique.
"I have cerebral palsy and I've had 15 to 20 surgeries," he said. "Overcoming all of that to do what I do for a living is unique. Takes a guy whose in pain a lot, and it is a struggle but I put on my boots and go on my way."
Breen said he is lucky to be able to do a job that is also something he loves to do. However, he said being in that situation has a down side.
"I tell people to be careful, when you take your hobby and turn it into your career, it becomes a job," he said. "There are days I'm hunting when I don't really want to hunt. Hunting is a small part of it and the writing is the biggest part of it."