Kids Cave a big attraction at trappers show

ESCANABA — The National Trappers Association Convention and Outdoor Show is the largest trapping event in North America. It is being held at the U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba. Many legendary trappers from around the U.S. will be selling their wares, giving demos, or just enjoying the show. There will be something for everyone in the family to enjoy and many activities for the kids. An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 outdoor enthusiasts from all over the U.S. will attend. Food and refreshments will be available for purchase. Camping is available on the grounds.

The Kids Cave will keep the youngsters entertained. Events in the “Cave” are not yet finalized but last year’s “Cave” included: five workshops, three Kids for Kids demos, two how to seminars, and various prize drawings. Prizes included fur teddy bears, pack baskets filled with traps and trapping related gear, and tanned coyote and badger furs with the claws intact. There are many stations with fun, hands on experiences like archery; BB guns, fishing, building bird houses, building catchpoles; making a simple survival kit, building cable extensions; catching and viewing bugs through a stereoscope, trap setting practice, laser shooting range, and mountain man dress-up.

At another station kids make buttons, necklaces, and create masterpieces using animal track stamps and stencils. Several matching games using furs, skulls, pictures, and tracks round out some of the educational aspects of the “Cave.” The most exciting and best attended event in the “Cave” is the coin scramble. Lots of cash and prizes are buried in the straw (even some folding money) and tokens that could be used to purchase great items. The “Kids Cave” event is only in its third year and is rapidly becoming one of the most popular convention events.

One of the featured speakers will be Heimo Korth of Alaska. In 1975, Heimo flew to Alaska to take a job as a packer for big game hunting guide Keith Koontz in the Brooks Range. They became friends and Keith helped Heimo get set up with a cabin for a winter of fur trapping. The cabin was in a remote wilderness 70 miles south of Fort Yukon on Beaver Creek. Heimo was alone with meager provisions and no experience with trapping or wilderness living. At first, times were tough, and he barely survived. But he hung on. In 1978, he built his own cabin, which he trapped out of for the next 40 years. Among the furs Heimo harvests in this northern boreal forest include wolf, fox, marten, wolverine, lynx, and beaver. He has had several seasons of over 100 martens harvested!

Heimo received the Alaska Trapper Association’s Fabian Carey Trapper of the Year award in 2003. Heimo’s sense of humor and engaging personality have won him friends near and far. Heimo has been featured as one of the cast of the popular reality TV show “Last Alaskans.” The show has helped to portray fur trapping positively to audiences worldwide. Heimo will be doing two demos, one on arctic fox and the other on wolf trapping. Many of the cast of the “Last Alaskans” will be attending the convention as well. Marty Meierotto, previously on the History Channel’s Reality Show “Mountain Men, will be in attendance.

The U.P. Steam & Gas Engine Antique Village on the grounds will be open. The Antique Village offers visitors an interactive learning experience. Local artisans demonstrate traditional handicrafts such as glass blowing, knitting, spinning, weaving, quilting, pottery, and woodcarving. Many of these goods are available to purchase. The village also features a blacksmith shop, granary, barber shop, general store, cook shack and ice cream parlor. Exhibits include a steam-powered sawmill, railroad depot, schoolhouse, and an 80-ton Fairbanks diesel engine.

For further information visit www.uptrappers.com/nta-convention or contact event coordinator Roy Dahlgren at (906) 399-1960 or trapperroy@outlook.com.


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