If you have been a deer hunter who would count on spending a day in early August browsing the vendor booths at the Atlanta Buckarama, don’t make that trip around I-285 to Jonesboro Road this year. There won’t be a Buckarama in Atlanta for the first time in 32 years.
Two Buckaramas have traditionally been held in August at locations in both Atlanta and Perry. For 2017, there will not be a Buckarama in the Atlanta area for first time since 1984.
The Atlanta Buckarama, hosted by the Georgia Wildlife Federation, has a long history for Georgia deer hunters. The Atlanta Civic Center in downtown Atlanta was the site of the first Buckarama in 1984. Then the show moved to the Lakewood Fairgrounds in 1987.
Lakewood was famous for being where scenes from the Smokey and the Bandit movies were filmed, and it was home to the monthly Lakewood Fairgrounds Antique Mall.
Lakewood was also known for being hot in August—very hot. There was no air conditioning in the Spanish colonial-style livestock exhibition halls. The earliest version of the GON booth at the Buckarama in Lakewood had window-unit air-conditioners cut into the wood-paneling booth. The AC units were to combat the crazy August heat for the GON staff and to attract hunters to the cool air flowing from the booth—leave it to GON Publisher Steve Burch.
In 1991, the Atlanta Buckarama moved to the Atlanta Expo Center North at the Jonesboro Road exit on the south side of I-285, where it remained until the final Atlanta Buckarama last August.
Meanwhile, GON will host its 11th annual Atlanta-area show on July 28-30 in Gwinnett County. The 2017 Outdoor Blast is at the Infinite Energy Center on Sugarloaf Parkway in Duluth. Here are some reasons to consider checking out this year’s Outdoor Blast.
• You Love Guns! The awesome Gun-An-Hour Giveaway is GON’s way of saying thank you and to give back to the folks who attend the Outdoor Blast. We buy more than $8,000 worth of guns and give them away. There are no raffle tickets to buy, just a simple sign-up for all show attendees 18 and older. A gun drawing is held every single hour each day of the Outdoor Blast. Any free gun is awesome, but these will be top brand-name guns. There’s a Browning A-Bolt Stalker .243 rifle, a Smith & Wesson .40 caliber handgun, Glock pistols and a $1,000 Core 15 TAC M4 5.56 rifle, just to name a few.
• You Love Seeing Georgia Deer Hunters Win Big: The Truck-Buck Contest and Youth Big-Buck Contest Shoot-Outs are held during the Outdoor Blast. These exciting competitions are why GON started the Outdoor Blast in the first place—we needed a venue to give away a truck, a Beast, 11 rifles, five bows and other great prizes in our Shoot-Outs. Winners from last season’s big-buck contests will take part in exciting pellet-rifle competitions on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. This is great “thrill-of-victory stuff” for deer hunters.
• You Love Antlers: The Wall of Fame, a display of the state’s best bucks from last season, is a must-see at the Outdoor Blast, especially this year. On display will be a Booner with more than 220 inches of antler, an 8-pointer that netted in the 160s and amazing bow-kills that topped 160. The Wall of Fame will also feature the Georgia state-record, a 38-point Telfair County monster killed by Billy Joe Padgett in 1998 that netted 248 4/8 inches. Also, the new world-record buck from Tennessee will be on display at the Blast.
• You Have Kids: The Outdoor Blast is free for kids 12 and younger. Once inside, there’s a free Kids Zone that includes a Wipe Out bar and a mechanical bull. There are free “Snakes Alive” and “Birds of Prey” shows. And there’s tons of cool stuff the kids will love to see and do at the more than 300 vendor booths.
For more info, click here or call (800) 438-4663.
Where: Infinite Energy Center
6400 Sugarloaf Pkwy, Duluth
When: July 28-30
Cost: Adults $8
All Kids 12 & Younger Are Free!