LOWRY CITY – Lions, tigers and bears, oh my! While not on the menu this year, alligator, kangaroo and elk were some of the exotic game enjoyed by more than 600 people attending the recent Sportsman’s Extravaganza and Wild Game Dinner in rural St. Clair County.
The day also included a lineup of activities ranging from an archery tournament to a trophy mounting contest.
The comradeship took place Saturday, Oct. 6, at Lakeland High School. Like-minded individuals and families have been gathering for this event of friendly competition and fellowship on a biannual basis since 2010.
As in previous years, the event was free and hosted by First Baptist Church of Lowry City.
“We were able to have more than 600 men, women and children hear the gospel clearly presented, provide them a delicious wild game dinner, and see a small Baptist church family come together and serve our community without a money plea or seeking donations,” First Baptist Church Pastor Jeff Ferguson said.
“This sets our event apart from every other church event in our community. When people ask, why do all of this for free, we reply that salvation is a free gift from God that we cannot earn. We simply want to reflect His grace.”
Starting off the Sportsman Extravaganza were archery and other outdoor activities. Youth participants showed their skills in a BB Gun Marksman Contest. Others honed their skills in a Crossbow Hunting Clinic presented by renowned regional expert Jim Andrews.
The day also included contests in Tomahawk Throw and Trophy Mount, the latter being sponsored by Gallinipper Taxidermy.
Prior to the Wild Game Dinner, attendees gathered to listen to Christian singer and songwriter Kathryn Fergerson, and to hear a message from the keynote speaker, hunter and Pastor Jeremy Hostettler.
“Hostettler really connected with our audience of non-churched outdoorsmen and women,” Pastor Ferguson said.
He used a real-life illustration of three hunting dogs his father owned, describing each dog’s differences and even imitated the unique bark each used when on something’s trail.
Hostettler related that the dogs only responded to his dad’s voice. The Bible verse he used to tie in the message of salvation was John 10:27, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Awards were then given for competitors’ efforts, and before departing a few fortunate attendees tagged some quality outdoor prizes including a Blitz 9’ Kayak, Rhino Deer Blind and Primal Deer Stand.
“We also gave out more than 125 special gift bags, which had information about our church, a small toy for children, pocket testament and most importantly, a DVD called “The Harvest” by Grace Outfitters,” Pastor Ferguson said. “This DVD is a professionally made hunting video showcasing several prominent hunters sharing their Christian testimonies. This provides a continuing witness of the Gospel long after our event ends.”
Information about First Baptist Church of Lowry City, a member of Fellowship Baptist Association, is available at www.firstlowrycity.com and photographs from the event are on their Facebook page.