Raahauge’s Shooting Sports Fair is back after not being held last year
By JIM MATTHEWS
CORONA -- The Raahauge’s Shooting Sports Fair is like Lazarus. It just keeps coming back.
After a one-year hiatus, the original and largest hands-on firearms show in the nation returns to Mike Raahauge Shooting Enterprises June 1-3 this year. It was cancelled last year because a fire just weeks before the scheduled event destroyed many of the range facilities and repairs were impossible by fair time.
The Sports Fair, sponsored by Turner’s Outdoorsman for years, has been held 33 times over the past four decades, but there have been other cancellations in the recent years when not enough ammunition was available to hold the event. This will be event No. 34.
The Sports Fair has most of the nation’s firearms manufacturers and importers with their wares on the firing line, and those attending the three-day event can shoot -- yes, shoot -- any and all of latest firearms from these vendors.
There will be over 500 different rifles, shotguns, and handguns on the main firing line, not including the shooting bays adjacent to the main line.
The event was the brain-child of the late Mike Raahauge, and it is the only event of its kind in California, and none of the other hands-on events anywhere in the country have the number and variety of different firearms.
Firearm companies represented for 2018 include, Ruger, Savage, Mossberg, Stevens, Howa, Springfield, CZ-USA, Smith & Wesson, Glock, Beretta, Benelli, Dan Wesson, Lithgow Arms, Christensen Arms, Citadel, LMT, Stoeger, Kriss, Bond Arms, American Tactical, POF USA, Kahr Arms, and many other smaller companies and imported brands. Sig-Sauer, a new addition in 2014, is back, and Early and Modern Firearms (EMF) is here for the second time.
There will be a lot of steel to shoot in the shooting bays this year. The EMF booth will have their historic replica guns available to shoot cowboy-type event on steel. Glock will have a steel shooting gallery where you can plink with Glocks, and Firearms Training Associates (FTA) will have its special steel range where they teach defensive firearms use.
Paul Cacciatori of Starlight Kennels has been a fixture at the Sports Fair since its inception, and he will again be giving his demonstration on how simple and rewarding it is to train your retriever to be a good hunting dog, focusing on discipline and retrieving. These seminars have always popular at the Fair and they are given all three days of the event.
The California Rifle and Pistol Association and the National Rifle Association are also on hand to provide information on the latest state and national gun control efforts. Most of the region’s sporting conservation groups -- from Ducks Unlimited to Quail Forever to Protect the Harvest -- have booths where volunteers with these organizations talk about their work in this region. The mail aisle leading to the firing line and shooting bays will be lined with a number of outdoor vendors with shooting and hunting accessories.
Moss Brothers will have its latest line of vehicles for outdoorsmen on display, including the Ram 1500s with the Hemi and the turbo diesel Cummings, the Chevrolet Silverado and Tahoe, Toyota acoma, and Jeep Wrangler and highly-reviewed Renegade. Of course, they will also have at least one of the sexy Dodge Challengers, or as Moss representative Greg Donahue said, “American muscle at its finest.”
There are also a host of activities just for kids, from a rock-climbing wall to air soft guns to a fishing pond.
(In an effort at full disclosure, I will also tell you that I’ll be at the Sports Fair announcing the whole weekend. The announcer’s booth is adjacent to the entrance of the Fair if you want to come over the visit before or after you shoot.)
If you want to see and do everything, give yourself plenty of time -- or plan on coming more than one day. The Shooting Sports Fair will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Friday, June 1, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 2, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 3. Admission is $15 for adults and parking is $5 (the parking fee includes entry into a drawing for a Howa American Flag Chassis rifle and scope package, a $900 value). There are also small fees -- to cover the costs of ammunition -- for shooting the different guns at the booths.
For more information or directions, call Mike Raahauge Shooting Sports Enterprises at 951-735-7981 or go to www.raahauges.com. There is also information on the Turner’s Outdoorsman web site at www.turners.com.
Jim Matthews is a syndicated Southern California-based outdoor reporter and columnist. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 909-887-3444.