ROANOKE, W.Va. — It’s an annual gathering to celebrate the two most popular activities in West Virginia this weekend in Lewis County. The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources teams up with the West Virginia Wildlife Federation to put on the two day National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration.
“We want to get both outdoor enthusiasts and those who may have an interest to come to Stonewall and give some new things a try,” said Kayla Donathan of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources. “It’s never too late to learn something new and for those who are outdoor enthusiasts it’s a chance to come and maybe check out new equipment and maybe learn a few things that may make the experience even better.”
More than 100 vendors are set up on the grounds of the state park surrounding Stonewall Resort. The annual gathering features a wealth of opportunities to shop for outdoors related merchandise, but also a lot of hands on activity, particularly for the youth.
“The Outdoor Youth Challenge is a great activity which gives kids a great opportunity to hone outdoor skills,” said Donathan. “All participants get a t-shirt and are entered to win a variety of prizes.”
This year’s event will also feature a return of West Virginia native Frankie Addington. Addington, know to many as the “Aspirin Buster” is a native of Winfield, West Virginia and performed at the show many years ago. Now living in San Antonio, he’s excited to be coming home.
Those performances in the 1990’s were a team event between Addington and his mentor the late Stacy Groscup.
“I started throwing for Stacy in the 1970’s as a kid and he and I became close. He was like a second dad,” Addington explained. “When I turned 18 he said, ‘Son get your bow.’ He threw a Pepsi can in the air and I hit it.”
Over time, Addington has evolved his own style and prefers to make his shots at objects in the air from behind his back.
“I did a Life Saver when I first started in ’85 and then I did the aspirin, but in the early ’90’s they started coating the aspirin, but I discovered if you shoot a baby aspirin they would puff into orange smoke,” he explained. “In 1994, Sternwheel Regatta in Charleston I did a baby aspirin behind the back. Nobody had ever done it.”
Over time his act has evolved and become even more difficult, but don’t make the mistake of calling it “trick shooting” since that cheapens the level of skill the shots take. He’ll be doing four shows, two on Saturday 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. and two shots on Sunday at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
The other big event for the 2018 National Hunting and Fishing Day weekend will be the inaugural kayak bass fishing tournament which will be staged on three lakes in the region.
“We have partnered with the Mountain State Kayak Anglers for the tournament which will be on Saturday on Stonewall, Stonecoal, and Burnsville Lakes,” said Donathan. “We’re getting a lot of positive feedback on that.”
Registration is $50 and anglers must attend an organizational meeting Friday evening. The award ceremony for the tournament will be done Sunday at noon.
Hours for the National Hunting and Fishing Day Celebration are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $10 for those 14 and over anyone under 14 gets in for free.