The annual Cortez Gun and Sportsman Show is returning this year with an earlier date.
The event will take place from Friday through Sunday, April 26-28, at the Montezuma County Fairgrounds. On Friday, the event will be from 5 to 9 p.m.; on Saturday the hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday.
Admission price is $5 per day for those ages 12 and older, and vendor tables can be rented for $55 for the entire three-day event. Last year the vendor tables were rented for $50.
There were 161 vendors last year, and organizers are hoping for as many as 250 this year, which would be the maximum capacity the fairgrounds could handle.
Gun Show Manager Stephen Blackwell said the $55 vendor charge is a price that cannot be beat when looking at ways to sell materials and products.
He also said the changing of the date had nothing to do with the gun debate that is raging across the nation following a few recent mass shootings.
There may not be as many guns for sale this year because several dealers and buyers have already been busy selling and purchasing firearms, thinking they needed to make quick decisions before the government came down with any new gun provisions.
Larry Chandler, owner of the Summit Shooting Range, will be conducting the background checks for the visitors purchasing handguns, which will take between 10 to 45 minutes per person.
Blackwell said April is typically a pretty slow month with few activities in and around the area, so these dates will likely work better than June.
The April dates will allow the gun club show to take place around the same time of the annual Elzey Garland Memorial Jr. Shooting Invitational and the Four Corners Friends of the NRA Annual Banquet. Having the event so close to these two events could prompt those members to attend the gun show.
The show, the gun club's biggest fundraiser, is expected to generate between $5,00 to $25,000.
The funds that are generated will be used to assist the Junior Shooters Program, maintaining the two shooting ranges in the county, and concealed weapon permit classes.
The Four Corners Rifle and Pistol Club, which is sponsoring the show, has about 500 members, and Blackwell said it is the largest one on the Western Slope.
He also said the show is much more than just a gun show because vendors will be allowed to sell any merchandise they want.
Two years ago the event was held at the old Wal-Mart building parking lot at the Intersection of Highways 145 and 160, but Blackwell thought this location was not conducive for the event and was able to move it to the fairgrounds last year.
The club's bylaws, he said, state the gun show must occur every year even if the event is not profitable.
The gun show manager said people from across the nation will be attending the gun show and in turn will bring in money to the community.
Blackwell said he has spoken to many of the hotels in Cortez to see if they would have vacancies available for close to 4,000 visitors. He added all of the lodging facilities are excited about the increased business.
For more information Blackwell can be contacted at 749-9772 or by email at [email protected]